The Trump administration on Tuesday rescinded the Department of Laborâ€™s â€śpersuader ruleâ€ť requiring companies to disclose any consultants or lawyers contracted for anti-union persuasion efforts. The most recent in a series of anti-worker regulatory rollbacks, the decision has drawn harsh condemnation from union leaders and working people.
When the Labor Department issued the rule in 2016, it was hailed as a win for workplace transparency. Workers would have the right to know when their bosses hired outside union-busters to influence organizing decisions.
Then-Secretary of Labor Tom PerezÂ explained it would â€śensure that workers have the information they need to make informed decisions about exercising critical workplace rightsâ€¦.Informed decisions are the best decisions.â€ť
In the wake of Tuesdayâ€™s announcement, AFL-CIO National Media Director Josh GoldsteinÂ slammed the administrationâ€™s decisionÂ to shield the â€śsinister practices of employers and their hired guns.â€ť
â€śBy repealing the persuader rule, the Department of Labor is siding with corporate CEOs against good government and transparency,â€ť Goldstein said. â€śThey have thrown a dark veil over the shady groups employers hire to take away the freedoms of working people.â€ť
This blog was originally published at the AFL-CIO on July 19, 2018. Reprinted with permission.Â
Despite herÂ supposed supportÂ for equal pay, Ivanka TrumpÂ backedÂ a recent White House decision toÂ end an Obama administration ruleÂ that would have required businesses to monitor the salaries of employees of different genders, races, and ethnicities in an effort to prevent employment discrimination.
Ivanka said in a statement that the policy, which would have taken effect this spring, would â€śnot yield the intended results.â€ť She didnâ€™t offer any alternatives to replace the policy or explain why monitoring employeesâ€™ salaries would not help close wage gaps.
Ivanka hasÂ made a brandÂ out of praising women who work, selling herself as an advocate for womenâ€™s rights.In April, IvankaÂ praisedÂ similar legislation passed in Germany requiring companies with 200 or more workers to document pay gaps between employees. She even added that the United States should follow Germanyâ€™s example.
â€śI know that Chancellor Merkel, just this past March, you passed an equal pay legislation to promote transparency and to try to finally narrow that gender pay gap,â€ť she said. â€śAnd thatâ€™s something we should all be looking at.â€ť
The Obama-era rule would have required companies with 100 or more workers to collect and submit data on employee wages to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Neomi Rao, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, told The Wall Street Journal that the policy is â€śenormously burdensomeâ€¦We donâ€™t believe it would actually help us gather information about wage and employment discrimination.â€ť
The recent move to end the employment discrimination rule is only the latest in a series of failures by Ivanka to stand up for what she claims to be right.
Ivanka â€” an official White House advisor â€” has long been regarded as a potential moderating force within the Trump administration. But that image isÂ carefully crafted, through a series of anonymous anecdotes to the media and sound bites that donâ€™t actually fall in line with her fatherâ€™s policies.
When Trump began the process of rolling backÂ Obama-era clean water regulations just one month into his presidency,Â Ivanka remained silent. Ivanka also reportedly opposed the United States withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, but sheÂ failedÂ to stop her father from backing out of the deal. In June, in honor of Pride Month, sheÂ tweetedÂ that she was â€śproud to support my LGBTQ friends and the LGBTQ Americans who have made immense contributions to our society and economy.â€ť She then stayed silent when her fatherÂ announcedÂ he would ban transgender Americans from serving in the military. (She also hasnâ€™t said anything about the administrationâ€™sÂ rollbackÂ ofÂ protectionsÂ for transgender students.)
In her recent book,Â Women Who Work, Ivanka repeatedly touts herÂ lifelong missionÂ as, â€śInspiring and empowering women who work â€” at all aspects of their lives.â€ť But she remained silent on the shortcomings of her fatherâ€™sÂ paid family leave plan, which would offer six weeks of paid maternity leave to mothers, leaving out fathers and adoptive parents and potentially creating career obstacles for the working women she claims to support.
Wage discrimination in the United States is a serious problem. While the national gender pay gap has decreased since 1980, it still stands at a whopping 17 percent, with women making 83 percent of what men earn. The racial pay gap lags closely behind. In 2015, black workers earned 75 percent as much as white workers, according toÂ Pew Research. The racial disparity is worse for women, who also fall behind men within their own racial or ethnic group.
Inside the White House, there is aÂ surging pay gap, the highest of any White House since 2003, according to the Washington Post. At 37 percent, the White House pay gap is more than double the national gender gap.
This blog was originally published at ThinkProgress on August 30, 2017. Reprinted with permission.Â
About the Author:Â Elham Khatami is an associate editor at ThinkProgress. Previously, she worked as a grassroots organizer within the Iranian-American community. She also served as research manager, editor, and reporter during her five-year career at CQ Roll Call. Elham earned her Master of Arts in Global Communication at George Washington Universityâ€™s Elliott School of International Affairs and her bachelorâ€™s degree in writing and political science at the University of Pittsburgh.
The Labor Department issued a proposal on Monday that would rescind the union-buster transparency rule, officially known as the persuader rule, designed to increase disclosure requirements for consultants and attorneys hired by companies to try to persuade working people against coming together in a union. The rule was supposed to go into effect last year, but a court issued an injunction last June to prevent implementation. Now the Trump Labor Department wants to eliminate it.
We wrote about this rule last year. Repealing the union-buster transparency rule is little more than the administration doing the bidding of wealthy corporations and eliminating common-sense rules that would give important information to working people who are having roadblocks thrown their wayÂ while trying to form a union.
AFL-CIO spokesman Josh Goldstein said:
The persuader rule means corporate CEOs can no longer hide the shady groups they hire to take away the freedoms of working people. Repealing this common-sense rule is simply another giveaway to wealthy corporations. Corporate CEOs may not like people knowing who theyâ€™re paying to script their union-busting, but working people do.
If the rule is repealed, union-busters will be able to operate in the shadows as they work to take away our freedom to join together on the job. Working people deserve to know whether these shady firms are trying to influence them. The administration seems to disagree.
A 60-day public comment period opened Monday. Click on this link to leave a comment and tell the Labor Department that we should be doing more to ensure the freedom of working people to join together in a union, not less. Copy and paste the suggested text below if you need help getting started:
â€śWorking people deserve to know who is trying to block their freedom from joining together and forming a union on the job. Corporations spend big money on shadowy, outside firms that use fear tactics to intimidate and discourage people from coming together to make a better life on the job. I support a strong and robust persuader rule. Do not eliminate the persuader rule.â€ť
About the Author: Kenneth QuinnellÂ is a long-time blogger, campaign staffer and political activist.Â Before joining the AFL-CIO in 2012,Â heÂ worked as labor reporter for the blog Crooks and Liars.Â Previous experience includes Communications Director for the Darcy Burner for Congress Campaign and New Media Director for the Kendrick Meek for Senate Campaign, founding and serving as the primary author for the influential state blog Florida Progressive Coalition and more than 10 years as a college instructor teaching political science and American History.Â His writings have also appeared on Daily Kos, Alternet, the Guardian Online, Media Matters for America, Think Progress, Campaign for Americaâ€™s Future and elsewhere.
You’ve probably watched one before.
An anti-union video so painfully corny, you probably had to turn it off after a few seconds.
Anti-union videosâ€”like this one from Targetâ€”fliers and other materialsÂ are the bread and butter of consulting firms who specialize in “union avoidance.” A nefarious industry that steps in for employers and attempts to squelch working people’s right to a union voice on the job.
Making these union busters more transparent is only fair.Â While unions are required to file lengthy annual LM-2 financial disclosure reports that detail all receipts and expenditures, the LM-20 form that management consultants will be required to file is two pages, much of which simply requires checking boxes.
Mike Lo Vuolo, a former American Airlines passenger agent, and his co-workers tried three times to form a union at American Airlines with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), under the companyâ€™s previous management. In 2012, despite having filed for bankruptcy, American Airlines spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the law firm Sheppard Mullin. Mike recalls high-gloss fliers, video cassettes and DVDs used to discourage and scare employees during organizing drives.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka weighed in on the new rule:
It takes great courage for working people to come together to form a union. Working men and women deserve to know who their employer is hiring and exactly how much they are spending to discourage workers from forming a union.
This blog originally appeared atÂ aflcio.org on March 23, 2016. Â Reprinted with permission.
Jackie Tortora is the blog editor and social media manager at AFL-CIO.