Employers and their Labor Counsel May Have Dodged a Bullet
Posted on Oct 30, 2014 on Legal Updates by
It appears that employers and their labor counsel have narrowly missed having to make their attorney-client relationship, including the fees paid and certain campaigning and persuader activities, public. As we previously wrote, there is a law that governs the reporting and disclosure of financial transactions as well as the administrative tasks of labor organizations and employers called the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959. The law requires employers, labor counsel, labor consultants, unions and others to report their involvement in “persuader activities.” This includes activities designed to persuade employees with regard to their rights to unionize and bargain collectively. Labor attorneys have always relied on an exemption to this requirement known as the “advice” exemption. This exemption excludes from disclosure communications between attorneys and clients on labor issues as long as the communication is not directly with the employer’s employees.
In June 2011, the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards published proposed regulations that would have almost eliminated this advice exception. The proposed rules would have forced employers to report many details of their labor counsel and labor consultants’ services and fees.
After a series of delays, it is widely-believed that the pushback on the proposed rules by various business-oriented entities including the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, and the American Bar Association, has caused the Department of Labor to no longer pursue these rules. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the rulemaking process, we do not anticipate any formal announcement that the proposed rules are no longer being pursued. We will continue to monitor the status of these proposed rules and announce any renewed efforts to pursue them.
Brody and Associates regularly advises its clients on union-related matters and provides union-free training. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203.965.0560.