Department of Labor Requires Employers to Report Activities of Anti-Union Consultants
On March 24, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor issued guidance regarding Employers’ obligations to report financial expenditures and activities related to the hiring of consultants to dissuade employees from joining a Union. Under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) section 203(a), an employer must report, on Form LM-10, certain expenditures and activities with a third party consultant, hired to persuade employees not to support a Union during a labor organization campaign. Under LMRDA section 203(b), a labor relations consultant, also, is required to report, on Form LM-20, concerning such an agreement or arrangement with an employer.
With knowledge that the source of the information received is an anti-union campaign managed by an outsider, workers will be better able to assess the merits of the arguments directed at them and make an informed choice about how to exercise their rights.
For employer-consultant agreements and arrangements entered into on or after July 1, 2016, the parties to the agreement must report if a consultant undertakes, or agrees to undertake, “persuader activities.” These are defined as any actions, conduct, or communications that are undertaken with an object, explicitly or implicitly, directly or indirectly, to affect an employee’s decisions regarding his or her representation or collective bargaining rights. Under the typical reportable agreement or arrangement, a consultant agrees to manage a campaign or program to avoid or counter a union organizing or collective bargaining effort, either jointly with the employer or separately. The rule also requires consultants to file reports when they hold union avoidance seminars for employers.
Consultant activities that trigger reporting of an agreement or arrangement with an employer include direct contact with employees with an object to persuade them, as well as the following categories of indirect consultant activity undertaken with an object to persuade employees:
- Planning, directing, or coordinating activities undertaken by supervisors or other employer representatives including meetings and interactions with employees;
- Providing material or communications for dissemination to employees;
- Conducting a union avoidance seminar for supervisors or other employer representatives; and
- Developing or implementing personnel policies, practices or actions for the employer.
Employees who are looking to organize are should be aware that employers will spend a significant amount of money to keep Unions out of the workplace. This rule will help to level the playing field when deciding if a Union is the right choice for your workplace. If you have questions about organizing in your workplace it is important that you speak with an experienced Pennsylvania labor attorney.