A federal judge in Texas has granted an injunction requested by a 10-state coalition led by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to stop a new labor exemption rule from moving forward nationwide.
Rutledge and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton led the coalition in April against the proposed regulation that required employers to disclose who has been helping them to challenge union-organizing efforts. The U.S. Department of Labor rule was set to go into effect April 25, and the attorneys general argued that it would violate an attorney's duty to maintain confidentiality in dealing with a client.
Business interests, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, filed suit in Little Rock on March 30 against the proposed change, arguing that it would upend more than 50 years of labor relations and violate employers' rights to freedom of association and freedom in seeking legal advice. The suit was the first to challenge the disclosure requirements, and was followed by similar suits in Minnesota and Texas.
"This is a big win for small businesses in Arkansas and across the country," Rutledge said Monday in a news release. "With the court's decision, employers will not be jeopardized by having to disclose confidential advice from attorneys needed to lawfully and appropriately respond to organizing campaigns or collect bargaining demands. Job growth and economic development will be protected by having this injunction in place."
The nationwide injunction was granted in National Federation of Independent Business v. Perez by the Northern District of Texas, Lubbock Division. Joining Rutledge and Paxton were attorneys general from Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The plaintiffs in the Arkansas lawsuit filed a notice Monday of the preliminary injunction, saying that it supports and may moot the injunction request pending before U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker in Little Rock.
Metro on 06/28/2016