Public Comments | Unions and Labor Standards

EPI comments on OLMS’s proposed rulemaking on the revision of the form LM-10 employer report

Submitted electronically to: http://www.regulations.gov/

October 13, 2022

Karen Torre,
Chief of the Division of Interpretations and Regulations,
Office of Labor-Management Standards,
U.S. Department of Labor,
200 Constitution Avenue NW,
Room N-5609,
Washington, DC 20210

Re: Revision of the Form LM-10 Employer Report

Dear Ms. Torre,

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986 to include the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions. EPI conducts research and analysis on the economic status of working America, proposes public policies that protect and improve the economic conditions of low- and middle-income workers, and assesses policies with respect to how well they further those goals. EPI submits these comments on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standard’s (OLMS) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Revision of the Form LM-10 Employer Report. EPI strongly supports the proposed rule.

In the notice of proposed rulemaking, the Department seeks to simply add to the Form LM-10 Employer Report, a report employers have had to file for decades, a check box that indicates whether an employer is a federal contractor or subcontractor. If the employer indicates they are such, then they must also provide their Unique Entity Identifier and list the federal contract agencies. The LM-10 is a form that employers must file disclosing whether they pay consultants to persuade workers with respect to their bargaining rights or surveil activities of workers and unions involved in a labor dispute. By adding the check box, OLMS seeks to fill information gaps on the federal contractor status of LM-10 form filers, providing a clearer picture on employers who engage in persuader or surveilling activities.

EPI research estimates that employers spend nearly $340 million in union avoidance consultants each year.1 However, these numbers are a gross underestimation of the union avoidance industry since employers do not need to report any legal advice they receive from anti-union consultants unless it coincides with reportable persuader activity. Further, many employers fail to submit their reports on time, making it harder for workers to know the true extent to which their employer is engaging in anti-union activity. While the proposed rule would not change the enforcement of LM form submission, it does provide greater transparency and an avenue for enforcement on whether a federal contractor or subcontractor is engaging in persuader activities. This would give workers and the public more knowledge about which employers who receive federal contracts engage in anti-union persuader activities.

The changes in the proposed rule are pertinent to two executive orders (EO) issued during the Obama administration. Under EO 13496, all federal contractors and subcontractors—except those contractors receiving less than $100,000 and subcontractors receiving less than $10,000—are required to post a notice for their workers regarding their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.2 Under Executive Order 13494, federal contractors are prohibited from using federal contract dollars for the purpose of persuader activities.3 By requiring employers to disclose whether they are federal contractors or subcontractors, the proposed rule would help ensure OLMS can effectively enforce the law and workers can hold their employers accountable.

Employers spend nearly $340 million per year hiring union avoidance advisers to help them prevent employees from organizing. Under federal law, federal contractors are prohibited from using federal contract dollars for the purpose of persuader activities. By adding a check box that identifies employers as federal contractors, the proposed rule will help fill an information gap on whether federal contractors are participating in persuader activities. This information could help OLMS provide oversight on employers who may be illegally using federal contract dollars on persuader activities. For these reasons, EPI strongly supports the proposed rule and urges the Department to move swiftly to promulgate a final rule.

Sincerely,

Margaret Poydock
Policy Analyst and Government Affairs Specialist
Economic Policy Institute

1. Celine McNicholas, Margaret Poydock, Julia Wolfe, Ben Zipperer, Gordon Lafer, and Lola Loustaunau, Unlawful: U.S. Employers Are Charged With Violating Federal Law in 41.5% of All Union Election Campaigns, Economic Policy Institute, December 2019.

2. U.S. Department of Labor, “Executive Order 13496: Notification of Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Laws” (web page), last updated August 25, 2022.

3. GovInfo, “Executive Order 13494-Economy in Government Contracting” (web page), accessed on October 11, 2022.


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