Trending Content

DoL and EEOC Continue Assault on Labor Relations

By AICC Staff

May 27, 2016

Earlier this spring, the Department of Labor (DoL) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) gave us two more reasons why the business community can get so riled up against these two government agencies.

In March, the DoL put the final touches on its so-called “Persuader Rule” provisions modifying a 1959 law—the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA)—that governs communications that employers may have with employees concerning union representation and contract negotiations. In a move that the DoL says is designed to “increase transparency,” employers will now have to report the engagement of any outside labor relations consultants who may be brought in to advise them, even if these consultants have no direct contact with employees. Aside from the additional reporting burden, the rule is being called an “unwarranted” intrusion into the employer-employee relationship.

“The Department of Labor has violated manufacturers’ First Amendment rights and the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause by greatly restricting manufacturers’ ability to educate and inform their workforce.”

— Linda Kelly, NAM’s senior vice president and general counsel

In a statement from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), President and CEO Jay Timmons said, “This unwarranted action by the Department of Labor will further restrict employers’ ability to educate and inform employees on essential in the workplace. For small and medium-sized manufacturers especially, this ‘revision’ could silence employers for no good reason. … The NAM will aggressively pursue legislative and legal action to overturn this dangerous, unnecessary rule.”

NAM’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly also weighed in, saying NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA) will challenge the rule in Arkansas. Kelly said, “The Department of Labor has violated manufacturers’ First Amendment rights and the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause by greatly restricting manufacturers’ ability to educate and inform their workforce.”

The EEOC action proposes to revise the Employer Information Report (EEO-1) to include collecting pay data from employers, including federal contractors, with 100 or more employees. This new data will assist the agency in identifying possible pay discrimination and assist employers in promoting equal pay in their workplaces in accordance with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Members of the public had only 60 days to submit comments.

Labor Attorney Steve Brown of Bressler, Amery & Ross, PC, writes in the online journal Law 360, “Once the EEOC starts gathering and analyzing this newly available pay data, we can expect to see a significant increase in both individual and class pay discrimination litigation.”

The NAM also weighed in, urging its manufacturer members to add their names to public comments. According to NAM, the EEOC rule—if adopted—would impose a significant and unjustified burden on manufacturers with more than 100 employees, and would likely result in the collection of unreliable information by the EEOC and fail to safeguard the confidentiality of a company’s information.

So, here are two prime examples of government at work again, working against the business community. This is a message we will repeat at the upcoming AICC/FBA Washington Fly-In, and it’s the story we’ll continue to tell until Washington understands.


PortraitJohn Forrey is president of Specialty Industries and NuPak Printing in Red Lion, Pennsylvania, and is Chair of AICC’s Government Affairs Committee. He can be reached at 717-246-4301 or jforrey@specialtyindustries.com.