News Releases

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Isakson: Newest Labor Regulation Stifles Free Speech, Upends Years of Precedent, Tilts Laws against Small Businesses

Co-sponsors resolution to halt implementation of onerous, unethical rule

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., co-sponsored a resolution this week to prevent the implementation of another onerous rule by the Obama administration that directly attacks the First Amendment by preventing small businesses from receiving legal advice when unions are organizing.

“This administration’s utter lack of regard for Americans’ most basic First Amendment rights is just plain wrong and it’s dangerous,” said Isakson, who is chairman of the Senate labor subcommittee. “The Internal Revenue Service has gone after taxpaying nonprofits and individuals who disagree with their political views, and the National Labor Relations Board continues to stifle employees’ free speech rights in one decision after another, including union ‘ambush’ election activities. Now, the labor department has enacted another regulation that will upend more than 50 years of practice to create an uneven playing field in favor of unions at the expense of small businesses and the First Amendment.”

“At a time when we should be rolling back onerous red tape and listening to our employees and job-creators to help restore our economy, this is another step backwards,” Isakson continued. “As a businessman, I am fighting constantly against the extra burdens this administration is placing on our economy, and I won't stop fighting until we stop these harmful rules.”

Current law requires that any direct communication between consultants and employees related to labor union formation or membership issues be disclosed. The “persuader rule,” finalized by the Department of Labor on March 23, 2016, would broaden those requirements and mandate disclosure of any employer communication with consultants or attorneys related to labor activities. While consultants and employers will face additional disclosure requirements, unions and their advisers are exempt from this rule. 

The persuader rule is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2016, if it is not stopped before that time.

On June 10, 2016, Senate labor committee chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., introduced the resolution of disapproval, S.J. Res. 35, which utilizes the Congressional Review Act to prevent this rule from taking effect.