Lubbock Chamber of Commerce's permanent injunction of an Obama-e - FOX34 Lubbock

Lubbock Chamber of Commerce's permanent injunction of an Obama-era regulation is upheld

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

On November 9, the U.S. Department of Labor dismissed an appeal to a lawsuit from the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce. 

It is over the Persuader Rule, an Obama-era regulation that would have required employers and labor attorneys to disclose information about union opposition.

The Chamber of Commerce stepped in two years ago and blocked the rule from taking effect with a permanent injunction. 

"It really targeted small businesses and put a target on their backs," Attorney Fernando Bustos said. 

Bustos, co-counsel for the Lubbock Chamber, said the Persuader Rule was designed to stifle free enterprise.

"It's huge because it was a horribly erroneous regulation. It was really, targeted political speech. It was very transparent to see the Obama administration was targeting businesses, large and small, but especially small businesses who could not outsource some of their legal functions," Bustos said.

The rule would have stripped the rights of trade associations and small businesses to receive confidential legal counsel against union organizers. 

Norma Ritz Johnson, executive vice president of the Lubbock Chamber, said this would have been just another burden small businesses could not afford. 

"A lot of people might not think there is a lot of union organizing activity here in Lubbock, Texas, but the union activity that we've had here in past years has mostly been with businesses with 40, 45 or fewer employees. So those are certainly small businesses in our area," Ritz Johnson said.

Bustos also added this is most importantly, a win for First Amendment rights. 

"It was important that we were able to successfully push back against that rule because it violated the First Amendment's right to free speech and the right of freedom of association with businesses, organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, and its business members or business clients. So it was great to get that rule repealed to protect the First Amendment," Bustos said.

He said this regulation would have created a harmful precedent and is relieved the labor department upheld the permanent injunction. 

"It was just absurd. The idea that businesses should have to report to the government the fact that they got legal advice, what that legal advice was, it was just shocking. It violates everything this country stands for," Bustos said. 

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