LITTLE ROCK — A federal judge on Wednesday issued a permanent injunction blocking the U.S. Department of Labor’s so-called “persuader rule,” a ruling that Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said is good news for the state’s businesses.
The rule would have required employers to report when they receive advice from outside consultants, including attorneys, for the purpose of discouraging worker participation in labor union activities. Previously, employers only had to report such activities when the outside consultants interacted directly with employees.
The Labor Department said workers would be better able to make informed decisions about whether to unionize if they knew who was behind their employers’ arguments.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton led a 10-state coalition that was allowed to intervene in May in a case challenging the rule, National Federation of Independent Business v. Perez.
The intervenors argued that the rule violated attorney-client privilege and placed undue burdens on businesses.
Texas U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings issued a temporary injunction in June barring enforcement of the rule, and on Wednesday he made the injunction permanent.
“The court’s decision permanently lifts a weight off small businesses in Arkansas and across the country,” Rutledge said in a statement Wednesday. “Economic development and job growth are protected as employers will not be required to disclose confidential advice from attorneys needed to lawfully and appropriately respond to certain issues."