WASHINGTON: Public Strategies is handling outreach for a coalition of asbestos settlement trust funds that want to educate policymakers and the public about how proposed legislation could undercut compensation for workers exposed to asbestos.
The Common Interest Group, created earlier this year, is calling on Congress to amend pending legislation so that existing asbestos settlement trusts can opt out of a proposed national fund. The coalition contends that the proposed legislation would transfer court-approved compensation from existing trust funds to a "new and uncertain" national fund.
The Senate Judiciary Committee in May approved a bill that would create a $140 billion trust fund financed by companies and insurers facing lawsuits. The full Senate is expected to debate the legislation early next year.
The new education campaign, "Don't Betray Their Trust," includes advertising, a website, and media and legislative outreach, the coalition said in a statement. The campaign also aims to highlight constitutional issues related to the legislation.
Mark Palmer, Public Strategies' managing director of media relations, declined to comment on the campaign, citing the firm's policy not to discuss client work.
The coalition is composed of NGC Bodily Injury Trust, DII Industries Asbestos Personal Injury Trust, Fuller-Austin Asbestos Settlement Trust, Celotex Asbestos Settlement Trust, and Western Asbestos Settlement Trust.
Many major US companies and trade associations have united to lobby Congress in support of national asbestos trust fund legislation. For example, the Asbestos Alliance, which is run largely by the National Association of Manufacturers, has used Porter Novelli for both paid and earned media.