A shocking change in American labor relations is brewing at the U.S. Department of Labor, which is expected sometime soon to alter a major regulation. The change involves a new interpretation of the “advice exemption” of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. Specifically, businesses would have to disclose the names of, and fees paid to, attorneys and consultants who advise them on union-organizing activities. In turn, attorneys and consultants providing such advice would be required to disclose their client lists and the fees they receive.
If that sounds like a road map for retaliation and strong-arming, with dangers for traditional attorney-client confidentiality, well, you’re getting the idea. Furchtgott-Roth says the department has evaded regulatory review by low-balling the proposal’s billions of dollars in costs. “The change has no basis in existing law or precedent.”