Bradley Byrne latest to join chorus decrying new pro-union labor rule

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Alabama Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL01) reaffirmed Friday afternoon his adamant opposition to a new rule from the U.S. Labor Department, the Persuader Advice Exemption Rule, by introducing a measure to block the regulation.

The Congressional Review Act of 1996 established “fast-track” procedures by which Congress can block many of the rules and regulations issued by federal agencies and their bureaucracies by passing and enacting a joint resolution of disapproval.

H.J.Res. 87, Byrne’s joint resolution condemning  the labor rule, is extraordinarily simple. The two page document simply says “Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule of the Department of Labor relating to ‘Interpretation of the ‘Advice’ Exemption in Section 203(c) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act’.  Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to ‘‘Interpretation of the ‘Advice’ Exemption in Section 203(c) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act’’ (81 Fed. Reg. 15923 (March 24, 2016)), and such rule shall have no force or effect.”

The rule, which is being called a “radical reinterpretation” of existing rules, would require greater disclosure of the communication between employers and outside counsel regarding union and worker organization activities.

“I am proud to introduce legislation to protect hardworking Americans and employers from a rule that would restrict privacy, upend the attorney-client relationship, and limit employee access to information during an organizing campaign,” said Byrne in a press release Friday afternoon.

“Worst of all, no one would be hurt more by the persuader rule than small- to medium-sized businesses. The rule is ultimately just another attempt by the Obama administration to upset decades of legal precedent and put the interests of Big Labor bosses over what is best for American workers. Congress must act to stop this flawed rule from moving forward,” continued Byrne.

Earlier this week Attorney General Luther Strange added Alabama to the list of states opposing the rule, filing an amicus brief in an Arkansas Federal Court.

While Byrne, Strange, and officials in the states fighting the rule say it’s an undue intrusion into what should be considered client-attorney privilege, according to Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, “The final rule … is designed to ensure workers have the information they need to make informed decisions about exercising critical workplace rights such as whether to form a union or join a union.”

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