Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Asbestos Comp Legislation: Strange Bedfellows

Asbestos compensation legislation has been a top priority for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senator Arlen Spector for some time, but things like Supreme Court nominations and opposition from the AFL-CIO, asbestos victims groups and the insurance industry keep getting in the way. The bill calls for a $140 billion asbestos compensation fund.

But Frist insists that passing asbestos compensation legislation will be on the top of his list when Congress comes back after the new year. The National Association of Manufacturers is lobbying hard in favor of the bill.

Now, this is the interesting part. Roll Call magazine (paid subscription) reports that
In an e-mail this week to Alliance members, a top lobbyist for the National Association of Manufacturers updated the group on the progress of the plan.

Its grass-roots efforts are mostly in place, thanks to Daniel Steen, a lobbyist for packaging manufacturer Owens-Illinois, according to the e-mail, which was obtained by Roll Call. To buttress local efforts, the group is looking for support from labor unions.

"Please let [us] know if you've had any success in getting local unions where your plants are located to express support for legislation," Jan Amundson, a NAM senior vice president, wrote the group.
I'm not sure what this is all about, unless NAM is attempting to lobby the UAW which supports the bill.

So, are we going to see NAM and the UAW marching hand-in-hand to push this legislation against the rest of the labor movement?

Curiouser and Curiouser.