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Advocating for SIOP and SIOP Members as Federal Economic Relief Negotiations Continue

As the COVID-19 outbreak rapidly evolved from a public health crisis into a broader threat that has fundamentally disrupted our nation’s civic and economic structures, SIOP has continued to actively seek ways to support its members and partners.

Please see the March 30, 2020 guidance on Congressional and Federal Agency Responses and Opportunities Regarding the COVID-19 Outbreak. Lewis-Burke Associates, LLC, will be posting weekly updates to this document.

SIOP’s first considerations are for your health and physical safety, as well as your professional well-being.  We are immensely proud of the work SIOP members, volunteers, and staff are doing to help each other and the wider community adapt to the exigencies of the times.

SIOP is also working to ensure its organizational sustainability despite the economic uncertainty, and we’re not alone in this predicament.  Alexander Alonso, Chair of SIOP’s Government Relations Advocacy Team, said, “COVID-19 represents one of the greatest societal challenges ever encountered changing the nature of work and businesses worldwide. SIOP Advocacy through partnership with Lewis-Burke has pivoted to support IOs with legislative updates vital to their work as they strive to support their organizations and communities.”

Hundreds of other non-profit societies and associations are also feeling the financial strain of COVID-19, having cancelled conferences and experienced disruption of other revenue streams, and are collectively pursuing inclusion in economic recovery legislation.

Steve W. J. Kozlowski, SIOP Research and Science Officer, said, “Until now, SIOP's advocacy efforts with Lewis-Burke have been focused on supporting IO science and practice in federal agency funding, policy, and legislation. However, the broad effects of COVID-19 are an existential threat to SIOP and other scientific professional associations. We are marshalling our advocacy resources, with support from Lewis-Burke, and collaborating with ASAE (the American Society for Association Executives) to mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 on the Society and similar associations.”

SIOP leadership and Lewis-Burke have been supporting efforts by ASAE to educate federal lawmakers about the important role professional associations play in supporting the economy, and to ask that 501(c)(6) organizations like SIOP be included in the federal aid packages.

SIOP's business activities support several of the hardest hit industries, including travel, hospitality, and event management. Sources cited by ASAE confirm that more than 250 million people annually attend meetings like SIOP in the US, and that these meetings contribute over $446 billion to the GDP, supporting nearly 6 million jobs.

This direct contribution to the economy complements the immeasurable indirect professional benefits these engagements provide for our members. Events like the SIOP Annual Conference connect researchers, practitioners, publishers, and other vendors in the I-O and human resources space. This is augmented by the year-round publication of academic journals, scholarly books, and member information.

SIOP and ASAE began communicating with congressional leaders as soon as discussion of federal relief for economic harm from the pandemic began. ASAE sent its first open letter to the bipartisan leaders of Congress on March 10. SIOP followed suit with letters to elected Members of Congress from our home base in Ohio on March 11 and emails to congressional staffers on March 12 and 24. Subsequent ASAE communications included Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the Chairs of several relevant Senate committees.

When it appeared that relief for nonprofit entities included in the most recent legislation would not include 501(c)(6) groups like SIOP, the Society and Lewis-Burke began preparations to be on the ground floor of future recovery legislation anticipated by congressional leaders. SIOP leadership and its advocacy partners will continue working to assure recognition of and support for the valuable role that professional associations play in the career development and success of the global workforce.


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