WASHINGTON (FNS) -- Regulatory reform, tighter government spending and changing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were on the minds of retailers and wholesalers who came to lobby Congress during an association-sponsored event here.
The lobbying effort, held earlier this month, brought food representatives to Capitol Hill to discuss important industry issues and legislative priorities with legislators. the event was part of a citizen advocacy program called "Day in Washington."
The two-day forum was co-hosted by the National-American Wholesale Grocers' Association, Falls Church, Va.; the National Grocers Association, Reston, Va.; and the American Wholesale Marketers Association here.
"It says more to Congress when we come here to them instead of catching them at a town meeting," said Robert E. Stauth, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Fleming Cos., Oklahoma City, and NAWGA boardmember.
An ambitious OSHA reform package, introduced earlier this month in the House by Rep. Cass Ballenger, R-N.C., already has the industry's backing. The measure would specify that half of OSHA's money go toward consultation, training, education and compliance assistance programs.
It would also direct OSHA to meet a number of requirements before issuing new regulations, such as conducting industry-specific risk assessment and cost-benefit analyses; creating a petition process for review of existing regulations; allowing employers to fix safety and health violations before being penalized; and narrowing categories of safety violations subject to penalties. Employers would further be encouraged to conduct internal safety and health audits without penalty from OSHA.
The industry also is backing a massive regulatory reform initiative that has passed the House. The bill would require federal agencies to assess the cost of a proposed regulation versus potential benefits that regulation could provide. A similar plan put before the Senate has been sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole, R-Kan.
Another measure supported by the industry is the Team Act, a bill sponsored by Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, R-Kan., chair of the Senate Labor Committee. Her plan would amend federal labor laws to allow cooperative efforts between labor and management.