Supporters of tougher regulations on businesses usually present them as necessary to curb abuses by large "fatcat" corporations.
However, President Obama's administration is pursuing a new labor rule that would largely ignore big business and instead target small and medium-sized companies.
Under the federal "persuader" rule, businesses currently must disclose whenever they hire somebody to try to convince their employees they shouldn't unionize — hence the rule's name. Now the administration wants to expand the disclosure to include any time managers receive legal advice on the subject.
The persuader rule is part of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, which was passed in 1959 to prohibit stealth anti-union campaigns by employers.
The new disclosure rule won't matter much for large corporations, which have in-house lawyers or are used to disclosing when they hire pricey outside "consultants" to fend off union organizing campaigns. Smaller businesses, on the other hand, would find it much harder to get legal advice, critics charge.