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Advocacy in Action

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By John Nothdurft | January 29, 2020 << Back to Articles Advocacy in Action

In 2018, the ISSA board of directors decided to invest in an expansion of ISSA’s advocacy efforts to help create a legislative and regulatory environment that allows the worldwide cleaning industry to thrive.

In January 2019, I started as ISSA’s director of government affairs and began developing and implementing a long-term strategic plan for the association’s advocacy efforts.

In year one, the primary goal was to build a strong sustainable foundation for ISSA’s expanding advocacy efforts. This was done by gathering feedback from members, evaluating and setting priority issues, educating members about advocacy, identifying and engaging allies, creating a grassroots network, drafting issue advocacy materials, launching bill track and grassroots advocacy tools, and educating policymakers and the public about the importance of the cleaning industry.

Some of these efforts are visible on www.ISSA.com, such as our weekly advocacy roundup, the complete overhaul of our advocacy portal, and the launching of our ISSA Action Center. Other progress is behind the scenes, laying the foundation for our advocacy efforts moving forward.

2019 legislative and regulatory impact

PRIA reauthorization:

On March 8, 2019, President Donald J. Trump signed the reauthorization of the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA 4) into law. PRIA reauthorization is critical to the continued registration of disinfectants and sanitizers by the U.S. EPA through 2023.

ISSA has been proactively pushing for reauthorization since 2016. The PRIA Coalition, of which ISSA is a founding member, met with dozens of Congressional offices to advocate in favor of it leading up to the votes. Many of our meetings were with newly elected members of the House Agriculture Committee.

ISSA also signed onto a briefing document distributed to Congressional offices. We also worked with allies to urge Senate and House Appropriations Committees to renew funding for PRIA 4 at previous levels, to ensure that our members’ disinfectants and sanitizers are registered on a timely and predictable basis.

ISSA mentioned in new overtime rules:

On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced new rules relating to overtime pay for salaried workers. The new final rule, effective January 1, 2020, increased the salary level that defines employee eligibility for overtime pay from US$23,700 to $35,568.

The final overtime rules are much more reasonable than the original rule proposed in 2016, which if it had gone into effect, would have increased the threshold to $51,000 in January of 2020. ISSA’s formal comments were referenced twice by the DOL in the final rule. ISSA’s 2015 comments to DOL  pointed out that the original rules would have cost our members “$100,000 to well over $750,000 annually, depending on the size of the company and the number of employees.”

Since 2015, ISSA has been active on this issue by being a member of the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity (PPWO), submitting comments, participating in a U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy roundtable discussion, as well as engaging members with regular updates on the subject.

Criminal justice reform:

On May 31, 2019, ISSA joined the Getting Talent Back to Work initiative led by Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). This initiative aims to “end outdated, non-inclusive hiring practices. In response to the First Step Act becoming law, the movement is the next step to getting those with criminal histories a fair chance at employment.”

Plastic product packaging regulations:

The California legislature failed to pass the Circular Economy & Pollution Reduction Act, which would have been the most sweeping regulation of “single-use” plastic packaging in the country.

ISSA signed onto a coalition letter with more than 20 other business and trade groups in opposition to the bill because “AB 1080 as drafted, is sweeping in scope—potentially including hundreds of thousands of packaging types and products, uses terms that are unclear and vague, establishes implementation timelines that are not practical, and provides CalRecycle with open-ended authority to impose new mandates on businesses operating in the state.”

Progress with more work still needed

Tariffs:

Tariffs were the top issue, according to a survey of our members, and as a result, ISSA submitted comments to the United States Trade Representative urging a trade deal with China and the rollback of tariffs. In the comments, we mentioned that “one of our members reported having to lay off 17% of their workforce, while also experiencing a 12% drop in net profit due to the tariffs that had already been put in place.”

United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement:

As of December, House Democrats have reached a deal with President Donald J. Trump on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The trade deal with Canada and Mexico is an update of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) from 1994. Reliable free trade with these two countries is critical to the manufacturing and purchasing of cleaning products and equipment.

ISSA has been an active member of a broad coalition urging Congress to pass USMCA. On July 23, ISSA signed onto a coalition letter with more than 600 other business organizations urging Congress to pass USMCA. The letter says: “Approval of USMCA will ensure U.S. manufacturers, farmers, and service providers can continue to access the Canadian and Mexican markets. The new pact guarantees that virtually all U.S. exports will enter these markets tariff-free.”

Looking forward to 2020

Over the next year, ISSA will continue to roll-out more education, advocacy tools, events, updates, and opportunities to engage policymakers for our members. We will once again be surveying our membership to gauge interest in our advocacy efforts, as well as top issues impacting the cleaning industry.

Here is one thing  to look for in 2020 from ISSA Advocacy: ISSA’s 2020 Clean Advocacy Summit. Join ISSA March 25-26, 2020, in Washington, D.C. for this special event. This event is the perfect opportunity for you to get the latest legislative, regulatory, and political information impacting the cleaning industry. You will also get the chance to meet in person with U.S. Congressional officials to discuss the issues impacting the cleaning industry.

Become an Advocate for Clean:

We plan to continue recruiting and training Advocates for Clean. I invite you to sign up for ISSA’s legislative updates or volunteer to become an Advocate for Clean. You will be the first to hear about pressing legislation, compliance deadlines, advocacy events, training, and more! Sign up by going to the ISSA Action Center at www.ISSA.com/Advocacy.

Expanded outreach and advocacy:

In addition to having regular meetings on Capitol Hill with congressional offices in 2019, ISSA also expanded our outreach to state lawmakers. We attended numerous legislator conferences, as well as exhibiting at the National Conference of State Legislature’s Legislative Summit. These meetings gave ISSA the chance to interact with hundreds of lawmakers and help increase awareness for ISSA, the cleaning industry, and our top policy issues.

We plan to expand our outreach efforts in 2020 and further engage on issues, such as ingredient communication laws, volatile organic compound regulations, 1,4-Dioxane restrictions, harassment training regulations for cleaning service providers, and green cleaning policies just to name a few.

Since starting at ISSA, I have had the pleasure of connecting with many members and learning about their businesses and the various challenges they face. The passion our members have for advancing the industry forward has been inspiring.

If I can ever be of help to you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Johnn@issa.com or 846-982-3453.


About the Author.

John Nothdurft is the Director of Government Affairs for ISSA. He can be reached at johnn@issa.com.