PARK RIDGE, IL — The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), the world’s oldest professional safety organization, sent letters this week to congressional leaders to voice concern that professional associations are being overlooked in COVID-19 stimulus bills. Now more than ever, members of professional associations nationwide are relying on these trade groups for critical support, guidance and resources.
Many professional associations are experiencing significant revenue losses and depleting reserve funds due to the pandemic, limiting their ability to provide members the support they need. The public health crisis is causing many nonprofit organizations to postpone or cancel professional development conferences and trade shows. As a result, many are struggling with major operational shortfalls.
“Federal stimulus legislation without question should include relief for professional associations,” said ASSP President Diana Stegall, CSP, CFPS, ARM, SMS, CPCU. “For over 100 years ASSP has provided vital education, best practices and safety standards to our members who are responsible for protecting America’s workforce.”
Contrary to congressional views, ASSP’s focus as a 501(c)(6) organization is not centered on lobbying. Less than 2 percent of the Society’s operating budget is allocated to promote common interests of members. ASSP works with its 40,000 members worldwide to create safe work environments that prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities.
There are 92,000 trade and professional associations in the U.S. and provisions to support them are largely missing from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. ASSP is one of nearly 2,000 membership organizations in Illinois that contribute more than $22 billion to the global economy. In Illinois alone, these associations control more than $8 billion in meetings and convention expenditures and employ more than 47,000 professionals, with annual collective salary budgets exceeding $3 billion.
The CARES Act also does not provide professional associations with access to the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which could help more organizations avoid reducing staff or scaling back operations.
“The CARES Act falls short of the help it should provide, and the potential cascading effects on occupational safety and health and many other important industries could be damaging,” Stegall said. “Associations are an integral component of society that underpin our democracy, and ASSP and the members we represent are no different.”
ASSP urges Congress to include professional associations in COVID-19 relief programs now under consideration. For more information about ASSP and its work to advance occupational safety and health, visit www.assp.org.
About ASSP – Working together for a safer, stronger future
For more than 100 years, the American Society of Safety Professionals has been at the forefront of helping occupational safety and health professionals protect people and property. The nonprofit society is based in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge. Its global membership of nearly 40,000 professionals covers all industries, developing safety and health management plans that prevent injuries, illnesses and deaths. ASSP advances its members and the safety profession through education, advocacy, standards and a professional community. Its flagship publication, Professional Safety, is a longtime leader in the field. Visit www.assp.org and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Blaine Krage, 847.768.3416, firstname.lastname@example.org