Graf testifies on ‘Persuader rule’ case, which leads to temporary injunction against Labor Department

Don Graf - Lubbock Texas Commercial and Labor AttorneyAttorney Don Graf of McCleskey, Harriger, Brazill & Graf offered expert testimony last week that helped lead to a temporary injunction keeping the Obama Administration’s Labor Department from implementing its “persuader rule.”

Federal Judge Samuel Cummings imposed the injunction in Lubbock on June 27, calling the rule “defective to its core.”

A Wall Street Journal editorial said the judge’s ruling “could have been describing the Obama Administration’s entire regulatory apparatus.”

Graf was asked to appear as an expert witness because “for 35 years I was the only certified labor law specialist in West Texas.”

The Journal editorial also said: “The rule putatively updates the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, which requires ‘persuaders’ hired by employers to communicate directly with workers to disclose their clients, services and compensation. The real goal is to muzzle employers and help union organizers.”

Graf said if the rule went into effect, law firms could no longer handle union election matters because “we do not want to violate our clients’ confidentiality.”

The Lubbock Chamber of Commerce in March joined the National Federation of Independent Business, Texas Association of Business, National Association of Home Builders and Texas Association of Builders in filing a case in Lubbock federal court against the Department of Labor challenging the constitutionality of the new regulations, according to an article in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

Lubbock Chamber officials said the changes made by the Department of Labor dramatically tilted the playing field in favor of unions, the A-J article said.

Ten states – including Texas – also fought the rule.

According to the Journal editorial: “Cummings said the plaintiffs were ‘likely to succeed’ on all five of their claims including lack of statutory authority, abuse of discretion, and violation of First Amendment rights, due process and the Regulatory Flexibility Act.”

Part of the overreach, Graf said, was the National Labor Relations Board oversees union elections, not the Labor Department.

“Judge Cummings said they have no authority to issue those regulations,” said Graf.

In addition, Graf said attorneys and employers would not only have to disclose who they talked  to and about what on union elections, but on all union matters whether subject to an election or not.

“It violates freedom of speech … you can’t talk freely about subject matters,” said Graf.

The Journal editorial also said: “The Senate plans to vote to block the rule under the Congressional Review Act this month, and the House should do the same. The White House deserves to keep getting kicked until it stops breaking the law.”

 

Related stories:

From Reuters: U.S. judge blocks union ‘persuader’ rule pending lawsuit

From The Hill: Judge temporarily blocks DOL union ‘persuader rule’

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