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Oppose Rollback of Workers’ Compensation

Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Oppose Rollback of Workers’ Compensation-Part G of S. 6405A/A. 9005A
Public Protection and General Government
The Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, representing 250,000 union workers and their families as well as our retirees and their families, opposes the above-referenced legislation.
The proposed legislation referenced above would amend various sections of the workers’ compensation law, public authorities’ law and insurance law to dramatically alter the workers’ compensation system.  
Adopting this legislation will harm injured workers and responsible employers.  It will reduce due process, oversight and transparency at the Board.  It will grant the Board’s executive staff unprecedented levels of discretion in handling and deciding cases.  It will eliminate Board members’ decision-making authority in certain circumstances.  It will socialize risk by creating circumstances where solvent employers foot the bill for employers and carriers that default on their workers’ compensation obligations.  It will eliminate the Aggregate Trust Fund, which exists to ensure payment of benefits to permanently injured workers and the families of workers killed on the job.   
It is important to remember that the workers’ compensation system is in place to protect businesses from lawsuits when an employee is injured.  In return, the system is supposed to ensure those workers have prompt access to adequate wage replacement benefits and high-quality medical care.  This legislation would further whittle away at the second half of that bargain. 

The AFL-CIO stands ready to include ideas on how to make the system work better and more efficiently, but the needs of the workers must be taken into account. Getting injured workers prompt access to the care and wage replacement they need and the help they need to return to work should be the priority.
Therefore, this Federation urges this legislation be defeated.