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Construction Workers

The Nationwide Attack on Workers' Compensation Benefits

Anti-worker lobbyists have been gutting workers’ compensation benefits for years, pushing down the potential benefits while jacking up the price of premiums.

Workers’ compensation was created to provide people injured on the job with the financial security they need to cover any medical bills and keep their family from falling into financial troubles while the worker recovered. Now insurance companies and lobbyists argue that the system needs to be reformed in order to combat the increasing cost of providing workers with adequate care. However, these claims don’t hold up when compared to the facts.

According to an article published in ProPublica,

“[E]mployers are paying the lowest rates for workers’ comp insurance since the 1970s. And in 2013, insurers had their most profitable year in over a decade, bringing in a hefty 18 percent return.”

ProPublica went on a deep dive into data from the insurance industry, state laws, court, and medical records in order to get a better look at the damage major corporations have done to worker protections over the years, and found truly heartbreaking answers.

The damage affects every single state, but these actions haven’t received the national attention they deserve in large part because the federal government stopped monitoring workers’ compensation laws in each state more than 10 years ago. ProPublica presented Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania with the information it and NPR gathered. In response, he said that,

The rollback “would be bad if it were happening in one state. But the fact that a number of states have moved in this direction is disturbing and it should be unacceptable to people in both political parties… They call them reforms. That’s a real insult to workers.”

Workers in New York have been facing the effects of these changes for years, and it could become even worse in the very near future.

In a 2 a.m. meeting held earlier this year, the anti-worker interests at the business council pushed for and got a major concession for the legislature on the issue of awards for loss of use to extremities. You can see these new guidelines in the Workers’ Compensation Guidelines for Determining Impairment (PDF) here.

We at the Perecman firm join with our colleagues in the claimant bar in asking our friends and clients to contact their state legislature to demand action against a lobbyist bought anti-worker board. A petition can be signed here:

You can follow this campaign across social media through the hashtags #protectinjuredworkers #nocutstocomp and #workersafety.

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