The Grocery Manufacturers of America applauded today's bipartisan vote by the House of Representatives to reject the Clinton administration's "ill-conceived, expensive and unscientific" ergonomics rule.

"GMA members are concerned about the health and safety of their workers, but the standards set in the waning hours of the Clinton Administration were unreasonable," said C. Manly Molpus, President and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers of America. "The staggering breadth, scope and cost of the rule were unprecedented in the history of government regulation."

The House voted 222-198 to overturn the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) ergonomics rule under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to stop final rules within 60 legislative days of final issuance. The Senate passed a similar measure yesterday by a vote of 56 to 44.  President Bush has already indicated he will sign the measure into law.

Under the rule, OSHA inspectors would have had broad discretion to order changes in the workplace and the structure of jobs, backed up by the threat of federal penalties, which could have cost businesses billions of dollars without any assurance of benefits to workers.

"The bipartisan vote in the House and the Senate to repeal this costly, ill-conceived and unscientific rule is a victory for business and workers alike," said Molpus.  "The repeal of this rule staved off the very real possibility of entire operations being forced to shut down, which would have resulted in thousands of lost jobs."

GMA said that the ergonomics rule, issued by the Clinton administration on November 14, ignored scientific debate on the cause of repetitive stress disorders, superseded state worker compensation laws and was so broad and vague that it covered more than 100 million employees by OSHA estimates.

GMA is the world's largest association of food, beverage and consumer product companies.  With U.S. sales of more than $460 billion, GMA members employ more than 2.5 million workers in all 50 states.  The organization applies legal, scientific and political expertise from its member companies to vital food, nutrition and public policy issues affecting the industry.  Led by a board of 44 Chief Executive Officers, GMA speaks for food and consumer product manufacturers at the state, federal and international levels on legislative and regulatory issues.  The association also leads efforts to increase productivity, efficiency and growth in the food, beverage and consumer products industry.