Persuader Rule: The Window is Closing on an Important Date for HR #SHRM16

New blog up over on the CUE blog that contains some very important information about the Department of Labor persuader rule and employer compliance.

Earlier this month, the Department of Labor created a very brief “grandfather” period for persuader agreements entered into BEFORE July 1, 2016.   

If you are interested in joining CUE while this very limited  this window period is open, it’s simple. Just go to the CUE website and fill out our contact formlimited window

For more information on this rule,  you can go to the LRI websitehere or the DOL website here.

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently changed what it considers reportable “persuader” activity under the Labor-Management Relations Act. Any agreements entered on or after July 1, 2016 with attorneys or consultants to provide a number of common services (supervisor training, drafting of employee communications and certain policy materials, providing union avoidance-related planning help, to name just a few) must be reported to DOL, will trigger other, broader labor relations reporting for the attorneys or consultants, and will be publicly disclosed. Although CUE is exempt from many of these reporting requirements as a trade association, we believe it is prudent for CUE and for you to have this document on file.

In June 2016, the DOL clarified how it will handle agreements entered into before July 1, 2016. Andrew Auerbach, the Deputy Director in charge of reporting, stated the DOL’s position that:

“Services and payments made pursuant to a multi-year agreement, even if they occur after July 1, are not required to be reported on the new Form LM-20, so long as the agreement was signed prior to July 1.”

 

I know this reporting requirement may be confusing, especially if you haven’t been following it closely. Please don’t hesitate to contact Michael VanDervort at 1-210-545-3499 if you have any questions or concerns. Whether you join CUE right now or not, I strongly encourage you to contact your own labor counsel for guidance on this matter if you have not already discussed it with them.

 

Looking back on some labor predictions from 2010

Looking back

I wrote this blog on May 24, 2010 over on the Human Race Horses blog.  Turns out I’m a pretty decent prognosticator.  Everything I warned about 6 years ago has either happened, or is happening right now.

Management and Labor Unions still at odds

(Still true)

If you work in human resources, there are a lot of things going on right now – very quietly for the most part – that are going to impact the field, especially if you deal with labor relations.   If you work in human resources, and especially if you work in employee relations or labor relations, you really need to paying attention to these trends, even if you work in a company that is not currently unionized.

Leadership changes at SEIU

(Check)

First up is the changing of the guard in the top leadership of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the largest union in the United States.   Andy Stern, one of the most influential and controversial union leaders of this decade  has stepped down and is moving into a speaking career.  Stern is being replaced by Mary Kay Henry, a relative unknown who drew on high levels of support in states like California and New York to move past Anna Burger, Stern’s number 2,  and his personal choice to succeed him as International President.

Under Henry, SEIU is expected to be more focused on organizing.   Henry recently announced a $4 million fund for organizing non-traditional SEIU targets, like banks, grocery stores, biotechnology companies and independent contractors.    The  Labor Union Report blog also recently broke a story detailing an SEIU plan for organizing in the fast food restaurant industry.

Rules changes make union organizing easier

(Check)

The National Mediation Board, the agency that oversees labor relations issues in the rail and airline industries,  recently changed  the election rules governing  the voting process for deciding union representation  for railway and airline employees.  While narrowly focused, there is speculation that these changes could just be the first of many.   Some experts fear that similar rule changes  impacting elections for union organizing could be forthcoming from the NLRB, the agencies that oversees labor relations in most business sectors.

Under the former NMB rules, a union had to receive votes from over half the eligible voters to become the bargaining representative.  Under the new rules, a union just has to receive votes from over half the people who vote.   While the rule itself now mirrors the counting process of the NLRB, the change is significant because the NMB conducts  elections using mail-in ballots or other means for collecting votes from a widely dispersed electorate.   Current NLRB practice requires a live vote in the workplace.   Many labor experts fear that the NLRB may change this process, and give unions a potential organizing advantage by doing so.  For some, it even prompted fears about the return of the Employee free Choice Act.   Leo Gerard, International President of the United Steel Worker even wrote an article called Hey Union-busters, we’ll give you supermajority, highlighting his thoughts on the matter.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also filed a motion on May 24 challenging the NMB changes.

Department of Labor proposes rule changes

(Check)

The Department of Labor (DOL) conducted a meeting today intended to be a forum for the discussion  of proposed rule changes covering  employer side consultants,  attorney and employer reporting  related to communication activities regarding “persuasion and advice” related to unions.  The changes would require consultants, including law forms to report many of their activities carried out on behalf of employers under section 203(c) of the Labor Management Reporting Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA).   Penalties for violations could include hefty fines and prison terms.    The direct impact of the proposed change would be to try and stifle management communication efforts during union organizing campaigns.

Potential “nationalizing” of private retirement plans

(Still happening

Fox News is reporting that Democratic Senator Bob Casey (D-PA.) is introducing legislation for a bailout of troubled union pension funds.  If passed, the bill could put another $165 billion in liabilities on the shoulders of American taxpayers.   The news could be even worse, according to Fox – although the price tag of this legislation is estimated at $165 billion, it could go much higher, depending upon a number of factors, including life expectancy of the recipients.

NLRB and Social Media

(Check)

Labor law slowly begins the process of catching up with technology as the NLRB issues an advisory letter on employer social media policies.

The Labor Relations Today blog recently profiled an advisory letter from the NLRB Division of Advice in which they analyzed the issue under the framework set forth by the Bush Board in Lutheran Heritage Village – Livonia, 343 NLRB 646 (2004), a case that dealt with a rule prohibiting certain types of interactions in the workplace.   This is one of the first instances of a case dealing with labor law and social that I have seen come to the NLRB for review.   It is very interesting just for that reason.  You can view the LRT report here.