Gone are the days when company bosses would hire Pinkerton agents to bust up union meetings and demonstrations. Companies now engage “consultants” to speak with and advise workers regarding union activities. These consultants do not need to identify themselves as company contractors or employees and can work to discourage unionization. In response to this practice, the Department of Labor has passed new rules to regulate this practice. This article will go over these consultants and how the new rules constrain their actions.
The new rule requires companies to disclose their “persuader agreements.” These are the agreements that engage consultants to influence workers’ decisions.
The new rule is based on Section 203 of the Labor Management Reporting Act, which requires unions and employers to file reports that disclose expenses on labor-management activities. The new rule now requires any communication with workers that is intended to influence their decision to be disclosed. This ensures that workers know who they are talking to, and if applicable, who is trying to influence their decision.
As a worker, you are entitled to a series of rights, including the right to a fair wage, to work in a safe environment and to assemble and unionize. If you believe your employer is infringing on your rights as an employee, then you may have a valid claim and you may want to call a lawyer to go over your options. These are relatively new rules so companies will have a phase-in period to adjust their policies. An attorney can help clarify your rights and your employer’s obligations.