WASHINGTON—U.S. manufacturers will fight the Clinton administration's ergonomics final rule on two fronts, according to an official of the National Association of Manufacturers.
The NAM has consolidated its lawsuit against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the D.C. federal appeals court with that of the National Coalition on Ergonomics, whose members include the Rubber Manufacturers Association and the Tire Association of North America.
In addition, the association seeks a congressional joint resolution striking down the ergonomics standard via the Congressional Review Act, a still-untested 1996 law which allows Congress to annul any government regulation which costs U.S. business more than $100 million.
Although the new Bush administration opposes the ergonomics rule, it can't simply abrogate it, said Patrick J. Cleary, NAM vice president-human resources policy, at a Jan. 9 press conference.
Because the Clinton administration went through the approved steps of rulemaking to create the standard, the Bush administration would have to go through the same steps to kill it, Mr. Cleary said. If it declined to enforce the rule, the AFL-CIO—which fought hard for the standard—would take the matter to court. "And it would win," he said.
The Congressional Review Act is an untried avenue of appeal, and its progress is likely to be slow in the Senate, according to Mr. Cleary. But industry must utilize as many methods as it can to try and overturn the ergonomics standard.
"This is a killer for us," he said about the standard. "Everything about it is shoddy and sloppy. This was not a regulatory process, it was a political process."
The NAM, in fact, views the coming of the Bush administration as a new morning after an eight-year nightmare.
"We welcome the end of the constant drip-drip-drip of bad ideas from the Clinton administration," Mr. Cleary said.
"Our goal for the next four years will be to try to steer the ship back toward the center.|.|.|We don't want the same tilt to the right that the Clinton administration had to the left."