December 3, 2013

Labor Agencies Regulatory Agendas

From: Enterprise Institute


As my colleague Wayne Crews comments in Forbes, the Obama administration tends to publish its regulatory agenda around holidays, or when “nobody is looking.”

And in predictable fashion on the day before Thanksgiving last week, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) published the Fall 2013 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, a semi-annual report on the regulatory priorities of federal agencies.

In its statement of regulatory priorities, the Department of Labor lists the following:

  • Workers to acquire the skills they need to succeed;
  • Employers to have the skilled workforce required to compete in a global economy;
  • Employees to earn a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work;
  • Veterans to thrive in the civilian economy;
  • Persons with disabilities to contribute productively to the workforce;
  • Improved health benefits and a dignified retirement; and
  • Safe and healthy work environments, fully protected by anti-discrimination laws.

Yet of the 66 rules the DOL reports are coming down the pike, many have nothing to do with the agencies above stated priorities.

One example is the DOL’s “persuader rule” that will become final in March 2014. The regulation reinterprets the “advice exemption” provided in section 203(c) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959. Ultimately, this rule hinders employers from receiving legal aid about labor and employment law, not improve the well-being of employees.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Manhattan Institute summarizes the impact of the DOL persuader rule:

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.

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