New labor regulations a ploy to provide unions with ‘hit lists,’ critics say

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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The Labor Department is expected to soon finalize new “persuader regulations” that would force labor lawyers, consultants and specialty firms to publicly disclose all of their financial and personal information.

Nathan Mehrens of Americans for Limited Government told The Daily Caller that the regulations, known officially as the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, would cripple employers and employees when dealing with union bosses. Combined with a slew of other pro-union Labor Department and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regulations, Mehrens said this regulation would likely force employers to succumb to organizing efforts.

If Labor Secretary Hilda Solis implements the “persuader regulations” in their current form, all private sector employer-employee relations service providers will be required to open their financial books to the public. Parties that fail to file the required information are criminally liable and could be punished with jail time, a fine, or both.

Directly affected entities include firms that advise companies on how to handle union organizing efforts, human relations companies that help develop benefits plans for company employees, and virtually every possible entity that has anything to do with employee rights.

Perhaps more controversially: The rule would also require ‘scabs’ — a derogatory term for people who cross a picket line to work for at company experiencing a union strike — to publish their private information as well. Because many of these people technically work as independent contractors, the information they would likely have to file with the Labor Department would include their home address, phone number and other personally identifiable information.

As LaborUnionReport.com points out, union bosses would likely be legally allowed to engage in violent actions against those scabs per a 1973 Supreme Court decision that shields unions and their members from prosecution after violent acts if they occurs in pursuit of union goals. The conservative website says these new public disclosures are really “hit lists” for union bosses.

“[H]olding unions accountable for retaliation that occurs in the dark of night or at an individual’s home will prove difficult, at best,” LaborUnionReport.com reads. “Whether or not the union bosses intend for intimidation, retaliation, or even violence to occur is unknown. However, that the Department of Labor seems to be heading toward making a hit list for union bosses seems abundantly clear.”

The regulation would require this information be released publicly even if those service providers don’t communicate with employees at all.

“If enacted as drafted, the union cronies within the Department of Labor will require every private-sector employer and service provider (whether or not they ever talk directly to employees) to file financial statements with the Obama Labor Department if the service provider’s services indirectly affect employees’ choice to unionize or not,” LaborUnionReport.com adds.

Mehrens said the regulations appear to be a bold attempt by the Obama administration to make as big a payback to unions as it can. He said the regulations would sweep across almost every level of every industry and aren’t narrowly tailored enough to solve the supposed transparency issues they set out to fix.

“In the NPRM [Notice of Proposed Rulemaking] the Department has taken a shotgun approach in an attempt to hit every activity that can possibly be imagined that might in some tangential way indirectly persuade an employee concerning the employee’s rights,” Mehrens’ group, ALG, wrote to the Labor Department in a public comment criticizing the proposed rule. “This has lead to some absurd situations that would nonetheless be covered by the reporting requirements of the NPRM.”

What that means is firms, lawyers and experts who advise companies on labor issues would be discouraged from continuing to do so for fear of either breaking the law or publicly exposing their employees and finances for union bosses’ use. Because large corporations usually have their own labor specialists and lawyers on staff internally, the rules would hurt small and mid-sized businesses most.

That indicates that indirectly-affected entities would mainly consist of small or mid-sized companies throughout the country. Mehrens told TheDC that when mixed with the new NLRB “quickie election” regulations recently finalized, small or mid-sized companies under attack from union organizers wouldn’t be able to defend themselves.

Industry insiders expect the regulations to be implemented as they are written now, depending on what issues are raised in public comments. The deadline for public comment submission is Wednesday, September 21.

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