Success of AdvocacyBy John Nothdurft | April 16, 2021 << Back to Articles
As a cleaning industry leader, you are aware of the increasing impact of government—at the federal, state, and local levels—on your business. This became even more evident in 2020 due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The pandemic caused lawmakers, regulators, the media, and the public to look at the cleaning industry in a different light.
The impact government is having and will continue to have on the industry is even more apparent. As a result, ISSA is continuing to build and strengthen our government affairs department. This is critical in helping to win key legislative and regulatory battles on behalf of your business and the cleaning industry as a whole.
We made a great deal of legislative and regulatory impact in government this past year. Here’s a look at some of the top successes from 2020:
- The “Cleaning IS Essential” campaign was a success. It helped ensure the entire supply chain of cleaning and sanitation was deemed essential in federal guidance and nearly all state stay-at-home orders.
- We helped ease U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulations for disinfectants, hand sanitizers, and other regulated products.
- We helped get cleaning-related expenses added as a qualified expense for Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness.
- John Barrett, ISSA’s executive director, participated in a conference call with U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence about the importance of maintaining a strong supply chain for critical supplies.
- We raised nearly $40,000 for our ISSA Advocacy Fund in less than five months.
- An ISSA Government Affairs Advisory Committee was created.
- More than 2,200 ISSA advocates reach out to policymakers more than 16,250 times on issues important to the industry.
- Proclamations for National Cleaning Week were secured from the mayor of Chicago and the governors of Alabama, Ohio, and South Carolina.
Looking Forward to 2021
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.
Some of the top policy issues going into 2021 for ISSA’s Government Affairs Department include: Healthy workplace tax credit, OSHA temporary emergency standard, tariff relief, vaccine prioritization, and limited liability protections.
Healthy workplace tax credit
In 2020, ISSA spearheaded the development and introduction of the bipartisan Clean Start: Back to Work Tax Credit Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. Since then, additional healthy workplace tax credit proposals have been introduced in both the House and U.S. Senate. If enacted, the tax credit would help businesses offset a portion of the unforeseen and increased expenses associated with fighting the novel coronavirus. According to a National Safety Council survey, employers have spent $5,208 per employee on various workplace safety practices since the pandemic began.
The credit could be used on training workers, hiring professional cleaning companies, workplace reconfiguration, as well as the purchase of cleaning and sanitizing products and personal protective equipment. ISSA, along with a coalition of more than 50 business associations, together representing millions of employees, have been educating and lobbying Congress about this proposal.
In February, with the support of our coalition, ISSA released a video, infographic, and alerts to bring more attention to the issue and activate grassroots support for the proposal. We encourage you to view, act, and share these resources. Go to ISSA.com/
TaxCredit for more information.
OSHA temporary emergency standard
Currently, four states have issued temporary emergency workplace safety standards and we anticipate the federal government will likely follow suit.
On January 21, 2021, President Joe Biden signed ten executive orders and other directives relating to COVID-19. One of those orders calls for the immediate release of OSHA guidance for employers on best practices for keeping workers safe from COVID-19. The order also says OSHA should consider issuing an Emergency Temporary Standard by March 15, 2021.
ISSA has been in communication with OSHA regarding this issue and will continue to monitor this important cleaning industry issue closely. The association is generally supportive of one federal COVID-19 workplace standard and looks forward to working with OSHA and the administration on this critical issue to reopen our economy safely.
ISSA and Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) have already shared our expertise regarding cleaning, disinfecting, hand hygiene, and other related matters. We will continue to offer OSHA insight into the cleaning industry and constructive feedback to ensure future standards are informed by sharing best practices, the best available science, and real work experience from front-line employees.
We have additional and up-to-date information on COVID-19 workplace standards and state-level resources on our website.
Tariffs are still a top issue, according to our members. ISSA has been an active member of the Americans for Free Trade coalition. Specifically, we have been calling for the reduction of tariffs on essential products needed to fight the current health crisis. Americans for Free Trade points out, “American businesses are playing a significant role in creating, transporting, supplying, and selling essential products for America’s COVID-19 response. But at a time when critical medical equipment, PPE, and other health, cleaning, and safety products are scarce, tariffs create barriers that make these essential products more expensive and more difficult to source.”
In late 2020, ISSA submitted comments to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices as well as to all 50 state governors regarding vaccine prioritization. The letter argued, “It is imperative these essential workers in the cleaning industry have prioritized access to COVID-19 vaccines to help minimize disruptions in the supply chain of manufacturing and distributing cleaning and hygiene-related products that are critical to public health. It is equally as imperative front-line workers tasked with sanitizing, cleaning, and disinfecting are also protected. Our members are working daily to help prevent the further spread of this awful virus.”
Limited liability protections
ISSA has been tracking and advocating at both the state and federal levels for liability protections for essential businesses that have taken precautions to protect their employees from the spread of COVID-19. These businesses face the threat of lawsuits alleging that someone contracted COVID-19 on their premises, the costs of which could be significant to fight. We are regularly updating our Summary of State-by-State Liability Protections resource, which includes an updated map indicating which U.S. states have passed legislation or executive orders related to COVID-19 liability protections or have introduced or expect such legislation.
Our members have played a critical role in these victories by contacting their elected officials, participating in our virtual events, and contributing to our ISSA Advocacy Fund. None of these advocacy successes would have been possible without your engagement and support. ISSA will continue to work with lawmakers on what a post-COVID-19 world will look like and the critical role the cleaning industry will play in shaping the future.
To learn about or contribute to the IAF go to www.ISSA.com/advocacyfund.
About the Author.
John Nothdurft is the Director of Government Affairs for ISSA. He can be reached at [email protected].