The DOL’s Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS) has announced the initiation of its Persuader Reporting Orientation Program (PROP). According to the agency, this program is “designed to provide compliance assistance to employers and labor relations consultants that are likely to enter into reportable agreements or arrangements pursuant to LMRDA section 203.” Specifically, under this initiative, the OLMS compiles contact information of employers and their attorneys based on representation petitions filed with the NLRB. The OLMS will then use this information to send an orientation letter to the employers and to their representatives in the NLRB proceeding “informing them of their potential reporting obligations under the LMRDA, where to locate the reporting forms and instructions, and how to contact OLMS to ask questions or receive additional information.”
Section 203 requires an employer to report on Form LM-10 any agreement or arrangement with a third-party consultant to persuade employees regarding their collective bargaining rights or to gather certain information about employee activities or a labor organization in connection with a labor dispute. The labor relations consultant must report on Form LM-20 information about such an agreement or arrangement. Currently, the LMRDA provides for certain “advice” exemptions from these reporting requirements. As explained by the OLMS, these exemptions “provide, in part, that no report is required covering the services of a consultant or other person by reason of his or her giving or agreeing to give advice to such employer, or representing or agreeing to represent the employer in administrative, arbitral, or court proceedings or in collective bargaining.” More information on the various disclosure forms can be found here.
During a recent web chat to discuss the OLMS’s regulatory agenda, OLMS Director John Lund said that the agency intends to publish a proposed rule by June of this year that would narrow the scope of the advice exemption and expand persuader reporting under Section 203. If the new regulations are enacted in the manner expected, they could significantly impair employer speech rights and the right to legal counsel during union organizing campaigns.
Photo credit: style-photographs