Records Set with Over 700 HR Pros Attending Event and Advocating on Capitol Hill

By Meredith Nethercutt Mar 24, 2017
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From March 13-15, SHRM and its affiliate, the Council for Global Immigration, hosted over 700 HR professionals in Washington, D.C., at the annual SHRM 2017 Employment Law & Legislative Conference—the highest attendance in SHRM history!

This year's conference included exciting keynote speakers like Chris Wallace (at right), award-winning veteran journalist and host of "Fox News Sunday"; Ana Navarro, CNN political analyst and GOP strategist; Sally Kohn, CNN political commentator and Daily Beast columnist; Chai Feldblum, commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Jennifer Sheehy, deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy; and Michael Beschloss, presidential historian for NBC News and "PBS NewsHour," New York Times columnist, and best-selling author.

Participants also attended concurrent sessions featuring workplace topics such as highly anticipated potential changes to health care and the Affordable Care Act; how "big data" is changing the employment landscape; the current state of drug testing in the workplace; defining an employee in the age of the joint employer; and labor relations in the Trump administration era—just to name a few. Workplace issues truly are at the forefront of the national focus, and HR is well-positioned to impact this national conversation.

The valuable three-day conference culminated with Advocacy Day on Wednesday, March 15. The day began with a packed breakfast in the ornate Kennedy Caucus Room in the U.S. Senate, where over 230 HR professionals heard remarks by Representatives Mimi Walters (R-CA) and Joe Courtney (D-CT). Following breakfast, these HR advocates conducted in-person meetings with their U.S. senators and House representatives and their staffs to discuss the HR perspective on health care reform and workplace flexibility.

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(Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT02) with Connecticut SHRM members)

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(Senator Tim Scott R-SC with SHRM member, Steve Nail) 

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(Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) with New Hampshire SHRM members)

Those not able to join their peers in Washington, D.C., for this spring's Advocacy Day could still make an impact through SHRM's Virtual Hill Day efforts. By remotely sending e-mails and calling their legislators' offices in Washington, D.C., throughout the day on March 15, hundreds of advocates across the country were able to echo the positions advanced by their fellow HR peers during their meetings on Capitol Hill.

If You Haven't Already, Join Thousands of Your Peers as a Member of SHRM's Advocacy Team!

During this year's conference, HR professionals not only filled the halls of Congress to amplify HR's voice on workplace issues, but also took to social media posting photos throughout the conference and expressing their views on these critical issues. In addition, HR professionals from across the country sent hundreds of e-mails to members of Congress, sharing the HR perspective on health care reform and workplace flexibility. Below is a group of Rhode Island members who discussed health care reform with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) at Reagan National Airport as they were awaiting to board their flight back home.

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While this year's conference is behind us, member advocacy continues year-round—and 2017 is already shaping up to be a critical year for HR to raise its voice. It is more important than ever for HR professionals to remain engaged and serve as a resource to lawmakers as they consider changes to existing workplace laws and develop new policies to meet the needs of an evolving workforce. Member advocacy efforts are essential to shaping future HR public policies. That's why SHRM encourages HR professionals to join the SHRM Advocacy Team (A-Team).

For more information on how to become involved with member advocacy or the rapidly growing A-Team, contact Meredith Nethercutt, SHRM's senior associate, member advocacy, and director of the A-Team, at Meredith.Nethercutt@shrm.org.

Learn more about SHRM's public-policy priorities for 2017.

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