Injured workers must be protected

José Valerio was earning a decent wage in New York City working as a welder for 10 years before an accident in 2014 left him with severe third-degree burns to his hand. The injury later developed into Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), causing constant severe pain. The father of four is still under a doctor's care, relying on workers' compensation benefits as he looks for ways to get back into the job market. Today, while José struggles to recover, there are efforts underway to change the workers' compensation system in ways that would not only create additional barriers for workers like him, but make it even less likely for injured workers to maintain a decent standard of living. Changes being touted by the business community would cut benefits and limit access to care. Other proposals would change how benefits are calculated at the expense of injured workers. For some injured workers, the change could result in a reduction of benefits by nearly 10 percent. Another proposed change would eliminate deposits to a trust meant to ensure injured workers are paid. Yet another would reduce oversight and transparency at the Workers' Compensation Board. Combined, all of these changes would jeopardize the ability of the system to provide adequate benefits for injured workers. The 2.5 million members of the NYS AFL-CIO in the public sector, private sector and building trades strongly oppose part G of S. 6405/A. 9005 because diminishing injured workers' rights is simply not acceptable. It is important to note that there is widespread opposition to these proposals. Both houses of the legislature rejected the proposals in their one-house budget bills. The workers' compensation system was created to provide injured workers, like José, prompt access to high-quality medical care and wage replacement while protecting businesses from lawsuits when a worker is injured. It is that very basic premise that must be protected which is why we are urging that this proposal be defeated. Workers have a right to be protected from injury on the job and they have a right to be compensated and cared for should an injury occur. You can take action by texting the word PROTECT to 877877 to be connected to your legislator or clicking here to send them a letter. You can read our OPPOSE memo here. Share our post on Facebook:
Working people are ready to include ideas about how to make workers' compensation work better and more efficiently, but... Posted by New York State AFL-CIO onWednesday, March 16, 2016