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Federal Judge Blocks Union Persuader Rule In Response To Lawsuit

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A Texas district judge put a temporary block on what is known as the persuader rule Monday, which will require businesses to disclose who they consult for advice on union elections.

The Department of Labor (DOL) issued the final version of the rule March 23 requiring employers to disclose what outside advisers they consult during union elections. Democrats have praised it for addressing problems of transparency, but Republicans and business groups argue it stifles workplace rights. U.S. District Court Judge Sam Cummings put a temporary block on the rule.

“The chilling of speech protected by the First Amendment is in and of itself an irreparable injury,” Cummings wrote in the order, which was obtained by The Hill.

Cummings issued the block in response to a pending lawsuit against the rule. The National Association of Manufacturers is leading the lawsuit alongside other business groups which have expressed concern that rule impede rights. They allege it prevents employers from seeking outside help during union elections, including their right to legal council.

“Manufacturers have long held that this rule is a violation of our First Amendment rights and the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause, and today’s ruling supports our view,” National Association of Manufacturers Senior Vice President Linda Kelly told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This complicated, vague rule fails to give manufacturers fair notice of what actions are considered forbidden and what forms of communication and outreach are considered reportable.”

Labor unions have contested that the rule helps employees be better informed about the use of anti-union consultants. Businesses groups warned the new rule gives unions an unfair edge during unionization campaigns and will actually undermine access to information for both employers and their workers.

Federal law requires both unions and employers to disclose expenditures on labor-management activities. The Labor-Management Reporting Disclosure Act excludes businesses and unions from having to disclose who they seek outside help from. The new rule would effectively eliminate that part of the federal law for employers.

The DOL did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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