Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Employers turning to lobbyists and "K Street" to deal with benefits issues during hard times

Mark Schoeff has an interesting article in Workforce about the use of “K Street” lobbyists by employers to influence policy changes contemplated by Congress or regulatory agencies. For example, some groups are resisting plans to guarantee continuing health care coverage to workers laid off at age 55 or over. (I was lucky enough to keep coverage through a severance period and supplemental period, before converting to a retiree plan, but I did work for an insurance company that had plenty of reason to behave and set a good example.) The link is here and requires free registration to see.

Employers depend on the Society for Human Resources Management and its American Benefits Council (link) to maintain an “artillery” listening post in Washington. Another important group is World At Work (link). Some groups do not lobby formally but simply collect information. A number of “Beltway bandit” consulting firms collect data on various benefits issues (like Lewin for health insurance) and make data available to lobbyists.

Various organizations representing culturally competitive interests ranging from “parents” to singles and gay rights sometimes lobby for workplace policies.

But what is valuable from my perspective (as an independent blogger) is the capability to put all the arguments down about a particular workplace policy down on one page for all to see. We shouldn’t depend on lobbyists and special interests as much as we do.

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