Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) filed a joint lawsuit with ABC of Arkansas and a coalition of stakeholders in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas challenging the Department of Labor’s final “persuader” rule, which will significantly broaden the reporting requirements for employers, attorneys, trade associations and other third-party advisors by redefining what is meant by labor relations “advice.” The final rule—effective April 25 and applicable only to arrangements, agreements and payments (including reimbursed expenses) made on or after July 1, 2016—will greatly limit the ability of employers, particularly small businesses, to obtain advice from labor relations experts, and in turn deprive employees of their right to obtain balanced information about union representation.

ABC has opposed the persuader rule since it was first proposed in 2011 because of the chilling effect it could have on employers’ ability to openly discuss the pros and cons of unionization with their employees. Additional plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas, Arkansas Hospitality Association, Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, National Association of Manufacturers and Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, P.C.