On Labor Policy, Again Less Is More For NAM

By John S. McClenahen As it waits to see what the Labor Department will do on ergonomics -- rumor has the Bush Administration this week backing "best practices" but not new regulation -- the Washington-based National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) clearly wouldn't be disappointed if 2002 were a slow labor policy year. For example, on issues ranging from health care for uninsured workers and Medicare reform to a patient's medical bill of rights and medical privacy, the absence of a lot of progress is "probably not the worst thing that could happen," says Neil Trautwein, the NAM's director of employment policy. "If we could give one piece of advice to Congress and the federal agencies on the domestic policy front, it would be 'tread lightly,'" stresses Patrick Cleary, NAM's senior vice president for human-resources policy. "We're far from out of the economic woods yet, so it is critical that lawmakers work together and be careful not to be overly ambitious in pushing policies that will raise costs for companies and workers, particularly on the health-care front," he states.

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