The National Automatic Merchandising Association is hosting more than100 industry operators, suppliers and other convenience services members in Washington, DC, this week for briefings from policy experts and meetings with members of Congress.
The group will visit Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Nov. 17, to focus lawmakers’ attention on business issues affecting the convenience services industry, comprising vending machines, micro markets and office coffee service.
“The convenience services industry is an essential part of the U.S. economy and culture, and the industry proved that in 2020,” said NAMA president and chief executive Carla Balakgie.
“When other options shuttered during the pandemic, many essential workers — from public servants to health care workers and even members of Congress and Capitol Hill staff – found sustenance, a sense of normalcy and often comfort in the diverse options offered by this industry," she added. "Now, NAMA members are eager to fully get back to it, and they need just a little help from Congress to do so.”
NAMA said it will urge Congress to add the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) to the budget reconciliation package after it was scrubbed from the infrastructure bill. A win would preserve tax relief funds previously set aside by Congress to offset a small portion of employee wages – about $193 million for the convenience services industry.
One of the few financial safety nets available to the convenience services industry, ERTC has been a vital lifeline for vending, micro market, coffee, tea and water, and pantry service operators. Even with ERTC assistance, however, NAMA estimates that nearly one in three (28.7%) convenience services industry jobs has been lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beyond ERTC, NAMA will use the Fly-In and Advocacy Summit to:
- Ask Congress to help mitigate ongoing post-pandemic challenges, including those related to labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, and a vaccination mandate.
- Urge members of Congress to sign onto the Coin Metal Modernization and Cost Savings Act of 2021, which requires the U.S. Mint to collaborate with industry stakeholders on any future coin metal composition changes to ensure a “seamless” transition into the marketplace.
- Educate lawmakers about the industry’s voluntary public health commitment to substantially increase the proportion of “better for you” offerings in vending machines.