A Dose of Fairness Coming to Union Organizing Campaigns

A new rule issued by the Department of Labor will force employers to do what unions have had to do for years: report how much money they’re spending on union organizing campaigns.

“Boeing Co. and other employers nationwide will have to disclose agreements they have with third-party lawyers and consultants hired to help sway workers against union representation,” the Charleston (SC) Post & Courier reports.

Boeing, which employs tens of thousands of IAM members around the country, has fought organizing efforts at its North Charleston, SC plant with a sleek website, social media accounts, brochures and radio spots featuring the state’s governor and other local politicians. But Boeing isn’t alone, pricey anti-union consultants are routinely hired by companies around the country to persuade workers against unionizing.

“The new requirement will not only reveal the existence of union avoidance operatives, but I believe employees will be stunned to learn how much they are paid to influence the outcome of a union vote,” IAM Communications Director Frank Larkin told the Post & Courier.

The Labor Department says the new rule is about transparency and letting workers know when consultants are working behind the scenes to influence their decision.

“This rule is about disclosure, and more disclosure here means more peaceful and stable labor-management relations,” said Office of Labor-Management Standards Director Michael Hayes. “With workers having a better understanding of the true source of persuader communications, worker-supervisor and other workplace relationships are likely to proceed more smoothly no matter what is decided regarding union representation.”

The new rule takes effect April 25, 2016.