Through the historic election of 2000, and two nominees for Labor Secretary, the fate of the Ergonomics Program Standard is still undecided. However, several GOP members would like to see all questions about the Standard soon laid to rest.
Late Thursday March 1, led by Assistant Majority Leader Don Nickles (R-OK), senators Kit Bond (R-MO.), Michael Enzi (R-WY.) and Tim Hutchinson (R-AR.) introduced a “resolution of disapproval,” to overturn the ergonomics rule, laying the groundwork for what may be the biggest labor dispute of the new Bush administration.
The Congressional Review Act allows Congress, with a simple majority vote supporting a resolution of disapproval in the Senate and the House, to overturn a final rule issued by an agency. The resolution must be signed by President Bush. Provisions of the congressional review law bar reissuing a revoked rule or any new rule “that is substantially the same” as the previous rule, unless it has been authorized by Congress. This has many concerned that workers would not be able to get protection in the future.
In order to revoke the ergonomics rule several key traditional legislative procedures are bypassed. Debate is limited to 10 hours, there are no hearings required, there is no conferencing on the bill, and no amendments are allowed. This issue is expected to be voted on Tuesday March 6, or Wednesday March 7. Interested parties must express their views immediately.
The law allowing Congress to initiate a “resolution of disapproval” was passed in 1996 by a Republican controlled Congress. It has not yet been used on a major ruling.
The AFL-CIO, a supporter of the ergonomics standard, has created web pages where you can contact your legislators to support the standard. AFL-CIO
NAM, an opponent of the standard, has listed several points of discussion on their website. NAM