- A U.S. District Court judge in Texas has issued an injunction permanently blocking the Department of Labor's "persuader" rule, according to Forbes.
- The Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) regulation would have required that the usually confidential employer-attorney communications about union organizing efforts be publicly disclosed.
- Some employer groups — including the Associated Builders and Contractors and National Association of Home Builders — have railed against the rule on the grounds that it prevents them from seeking critical advice about their rights and responsibilities when employees are trying to form unions, potentially resulting in a violation of other LMRDA laws.
The ruling was in response to a government appeal of a temporary injunction issued in June. U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings said that the "persuader" rule, which lumped attorney-client communication in with those of paid consultants who have direct communication with employees during organization attempts, is possibly a First Amendment violation. However, those groups in favor of the rule say allows employees to keep tabs on employer actions during attempts at unionization.
The ABC and other industry groups have long said that the government has ignored their data on the ramifications of this and other DOL rules. After the Wednesday decision, the ABC said in a release, "Today’s decision is another repudiation of the U.S. Department of Labor’s drastic overreach under the Obama administration."
In response to the preliminary injunction in June, National Association of Home Builders Chairman Ed Brady said in a release that the rule was "another example of regulatory overreach that not only violates small business owners’ First Amendment rights, but also places burdensome reporting requirements that would result in significant costs and questionable legal implications."
This is just the latest blow to the DOL's rulemaking efforts. Late last month, another federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction against the agency's Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces "blacklisting" rule, which mandates that contractors disclose prior labor law violations before they can bid on federal projects. The judge determined that the Associated Builders and Contractors' suit "properly demonstrated immediate and ongoing injury to their members if the rule is allowed to take effect." The association argued that, among other things, the rule would unfairly penalize contractors for unadjudicated violations and potentially punish others twice for matters that have already been settled.