Judge permanently blocks 'persuader' rule implementation

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A federal judge permanently has blocked the Labor Department from implementing its so-called “persuader” rule.

The rule would have required employers to disclose agreements they entered into with third-party consultants, also known as persuaders, to try to influence the outcome of union-organizing and collective bargaining campaigns. Employers also would have been required to notify employees when they developed plans for supervisors to influence workers, created anti-union materials and led seminars against forming unions or collective bargaining.

U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings of the Northern District of Texas previously had issued a temporary injunction against the rule just days before its July 1 enforcement date. Failure to comply with the rule could have resulted in criminal penalties.

Cummings' latest decision, issued Wednesday, stems from a motion filed by the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Association of Home Builders, the Texas Association of Business, the Texas Association of Builders and the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce. The groups maintained that the rule violated the First Amendment as well as the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment and the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The groups were joined by the attorneys general of 10 states as plaintiffs in the case.

The Labor Department could appeal the ruling, the Texas Association of Business noted. The American Hospital Association noted that the rule also is subject to several other pending court challenges, including one brought by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, of which it is a member. The coalition also represents more than 600 other organizations, including Argentum, the National Center for Assisted Living, the American Seniors Housing Association, LeadingAge Colorado and the National Multifamily Housing Council.

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