Inside Corporate America’s Campaign to Ditch Workers’ Comp
October 18, 2015 1:53 PM   Subscribe

One Texas lawyer is helping companies opt out of workers’ compensation and write their own rules. What does it mean for injured workers?

From the article:
Many of the nation’s biggest retail, trucking, health care and food companies have already opted out in Texas, where Minick pioneered the concept as a young lawyer. Oklahoma recently passed a law co-written by Minick allowing companies to opt out there. Tennessee and South Carolina are seriously considering similar measures. And with a coalition led by executives from Walmart, Nordstrom and Lowe’s, Minick has launched a campaign to get laws passed in as many as a dozen states within the next decade.

But as Minick’s opt-out movement marches across the country, there has been little scrutiny of what it means for workers.

ProPublica and NPR obtained the injury benefit plans of nearly 120 companies who have opted out in Texas or Oklahoma — many of them written by Minick’s firm — to conduct the first independent analysis of how these plans compare to state workers’ comp.

The investigation found the plans almost universally have lower benefits, more restrictions and virtually no independent oversight.

Already in Texas, plans written by Minick’s firm allow for a hodgepodge of provisions that are far different from workers’ comp. They’re why McDonald’s doesn’t cover carpal tunnel syndrome and why Brookdale Senior Living, the nation’s largest chain of assisted living facilities, doesn’t cover most bacterial infections. Why Taco Bell can accompany injured workers to doctors’ appointments and Sears can deny benefits if workers don’t report injuries by the end of their shifts.
posted by Pope Guilty (100 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
 
Fucking criminality
posted by growabrain at 2:06 PM on October 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


Seriously, WTF? As an Australian, this seems just bizarre. Like a company opting out of pollution control, or the minimum wage or something equally absurd.
posted by wilful at 2:06 PM on October 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


It's ok, unions and labor movements are no longer needed. Our benevolent tycoons will figure it out for us!
posted by blue_beetle at 2:09 PM on October 18, 2015 [69 favorites]


I'm always hearing "only in America" from bible thumping 'Murkins who want to trumpet whatever slim good news they manage to lock on to, but I'm taking it back. Only in America do we have these leg-pissin-rain-callin hucksters who are blatantly fucking over working people and lying out of every conceivable side of their mouths while simultaneously enjoying the support of the very people they're fucking over, at least until it's too late. The patron saint of the US should be PT Barnum, not Washington or Jefferson or whomever.
posted by nevercalm at 2:12 PM on October 18, 2015 [42 favorites]


Worker's comp is too expensive! Unions are too expensive! Taxes are too expensive! This whole civilization thing is too damned expensive, and I long for simpler times. For when should we set this thing?
posted by sneebler at 2:13 PM on October 18, 2015 [20 favorites]


So, if you do get hurt, you have to go see this lawyer's wife to find out whether or not you get treatment? I see no conflict of interest here.

*walks away, humming 16 tons*
posted by valkane at 2:13 PM on October 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


From the first paragraph:

"this mild-mannered son of an evangelist is plotting a revolution in how companies take care of injured workers."

Son of an Evangelist? Did he miss the sermons about Jesus or something?

Stay classy, America.
posted by marienbad at 2:16 PM on October 18, 2015 [29 favorites]


What does it mean for injured workers?

"Fuck you, buddy."
posted by Artw at 2:22 PM on October 18, 2015 [36 favorites]


Son of an Evangelist? Did he miss the sermons about Jesus or something?

Have you been paying attention to which political party evangelicals tend to support?

Workers in the US are fucked. There's no other way to put it.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:24 PM on October 18, 2015 [16 favorites]


You've got to shunt your business risk onto anyone you can to make a buck and the other companies you do business with are often busy trying to do the same thing themselves, so that leaves your employees and the government.
posted by XMLicious at 2:29 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pope Guilty: "What does it mean for injured workers?"
The investigation found the plans almost universally have lower benefits, more restrictions and virtually no independent oversight.
So basically what everyone with a working brain cell would expect.
posted by Mitheral at 2:30 PM on October 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


But hey, they can pray.
posted by Artw at 2:32 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Never underestimate the average American's ability to give zero fucks until they're directly affected by a thing. Everyone's a rugged individualist until the exact moment they're not.
posted by echocollate at 2:40 PM on October 18, 2015 [104 favorites]


This part of the article:
With practiced ease, he rattled off the common gripes about workers’ comp: Companies dig in their heels at the first sign of a claim and turn workers into adversaries. Insurers don’t communicate about benefits, causing workers to hire lawyers. Doctors are often picked based on discounts rather than quality. And the system, he said, has created a huge bureaucracy in the name of protecting workers’ rights.

As a result, injured workers no longer have any accountability, he said. They can report claims late, skip doctors’ appointments and appeal every perceived wrong to workers’ comp court rather than trying to work it out with their employers.
got me thinking about plea bargaining (previously on MeFi), which also purports to streamline a process and eliminate "bureaucracy" by bringing both sides to the table to avoid a more prolonged battles in court. Certainly, our current court system would buckle under the weight of too many criminal cases if we didn't allow for deal-making, but just like the deal-making is going to be stacked against those without the means for better representation, it's pretty clear that this bastardization of worker's comp is built to screw people by getting them to take a lesser deal in the short term than they could get if they availed themselves of the full protections the legal system provides, with the excuse that the very same legal system can't support everyone going to court -- as if that itself isn't a decision we as society have made by not funding government enough.

I also can't help but notice in these plans so much of that pesky paternalism that conservatives say they hate:
Employers can terminate workers’ benefits for being late to doctors’ appointments, failing to check in with the company or even consulting their personal doctors.

One truck driver for a food and beer distributor complained in court documents that his direct supervisor accompanied him to medical appointments for his hernia — a requirement under the plan.

Some plans have restrictions that read like the terms of criminal probation. While they’re healing, injured workers at W. Silver, a steel products manufacturer in El Paso, are prohibited from leaving the area, even temporarily, or engaging in any "pleasure" that may delay recovery.
But it's okay, because the paternalism is coming from your employer, not the big bad government.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:49 PM on October 18, 2015 [70 favorites]


“It’s not about reducing benefits,” he said. “We can objectively show you that we have saved our clients over a billion dollars against Texas workers’ comp over the past decade."
And the saved money came from reduced benefits.
posted by jeather at 2:52 PM on October 18, 2015 [45 favorites]


Everyone's a rugged individualist until the exact moment they're not.

I dunno. If the last 30 or so years are any indication, a whole lot of American working-class folk are perfectly willing to accept getting shit on by their employers. They've accepted the lie that unions are for communists and are responsible for every ill visited upon them.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:55 PM on October 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


Heard an NPR piece on this last week and was left terrified.

I've dealt with Workers' Comp in a tangential way (helping coworkers fill out paperwork, for example, or having friends who were injured at work dealing with it), and it does seem like it has a lot of flaws. But the opt-out seems to be making those flaws worse for injured workers, not fixing them.

The clauses requiring employees to report injuries by the end of their shifts thing, alone, is sobering. I work in a field where onsite injuries happen frequently, and where typically they are reported immediately, because it's kind of hard to not notice that somebody cut off a finger or fucked up their knee to the point that they can't stand. But even there, often it can take weeks to process all the paperwork, and there is heavy pressure on workers to "walk it off", so to speak, or to wait and see how bad an injury really is. Which, again, is why it often takes a long time to process Worker's Comp paperwork. All that is as it should be. A vanishingly tiny number of workplace injuries are within the realm of "reported in their entirety during the shift". Even in a field where we see a lot more workplace accidents than repetitive stress injuries, back problems, contagious disease, etc.
posted by Sara C. at 3:02 PM on October 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


Where is the list of the companies that do this, so I can boycott them so fucking hard the fucking handle breaks?
posted by The Vice Admiral of the Narrow Seas at 3:03 PM on October 18, 2015 [39 favorites]


Ugh, this is why I worry about biotechs moving to Texas.
posted by zenzicube at 3:05 PM on October 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ugh, this is why I worry about biotechs moving to Texas.

This is probably why it makes it even more likely that they will.
posted by chimaera at 3:10 PM on October 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


How much productivity is lost from a supervisor having to accompany one of their direct reports to every single doctor's appointment? That does not sound like a very good use of management time at all.

Also, I normally hate scrolling graphics, but the banner at the top of the ProPublica page is chillingly appropriate.
posted by cynical pinnacle at 3:16 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


The weird thing is that, in the long run, this sort of shit has a way of coming back to fuck the companies that do it. It's terribly short sighted and always feels a little bit like "yes, this will fuck us up, but it will fuck our employees up more so let's do it," is like they hate the people who work for them so much that they're willing to poison themselves provided the poison kills the employees first.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:16 PM on October 18, 2015 [31 favorites]


And the system, he said, has created a huge bureaucracy in the name of protecting workers’ rights.
Well... yes. Because companies have -- hell, companies are huge bureaucracies created in the name of wringing every drop of sweat and blood they possibly can from workers. That's not a bad thing in and of itself, as long as someone else is on the other side with a similar amount of power and, yes, bureaucracy.
posted by Etrigan at 3:20 PM on October 18, 2015 [27 favorites]


Seriously, WTF? As an Australian, this seems just bizarre. Like a company opting out of pollution control, or the minimum wage or something equally absurd.

Don't worry, that's coming shortly. In America, Corporations are the citizens, actual humans don't matter all that much. You know, unless they're a shareholder.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:25 PM on October 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Companies not wanting to pay for on-the-job injuries is yet another problem that universal health care would solve.
posted by TedW at 3:25 PM on October 18, 2015 [33 favorites]


This goes hand in hand with the willingness of courts to uphold arbitration clauses and class action waivers. If companies had to worry about their injured workers getting in front of a jury, or facing large-scale judgments for injuries in aggregate, they'd prefer the publicly subsidized no-fault system.
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:25 PM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Why Taco Bell can accompany injured workers to doctors’ appointments

I... don't understand this one? I mean i get maybe their representative going there to hear right from the doctor that they're only X injured and try and cap everything there(even if there's underlying issues that don't come out until later) but couldn't they just glean that from records?

Is it to argue with the doctor or spin the story or something? I mean i can't think of anything positive, but i just don't even entirely get it. Ignoring the "how the fucking fuckity FUCK is this legal" portion obviously.
posted by emptythought at 3:36 PM on October 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think they go along to slide the doctor a tip when she dissavows their claim.
posted by valkane at 3:48 PM on October 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Companies not wanting to pay for on-the-job injuries is yet another problem that universal health care would solve.

Not really. Workers comp covers medical bills but it also includes a cash compensation component. I mean, if you work in construction and you lose an arm, you deserve some money to cover lost wages while you try to get into a different field.

Unfortunately almost everyone with any power in this country has never done any sort of physical labor so they don't really get why that might be an issue.

“Workers’ compensation systems grew up at a time when employers did not care about their employees. ... Now companies are competing to be a best place to work.”

That comment from the lawyer involved pretty much sums up one kind of luge experience, which is totally valid, but is not likely to be the kind of life experienced by workers comp claimants.
posted by miyabo at 3:48 PM on October 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


So Minick is basically a psychopath, right? One of many, but still. Lacking in empathy, superficially charming and well-spoken, lies without hesitation, lacks remorse, enjoys risk (the radio tower detail)...
posted by um at 3:52 PM on October 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


I was hurt on the job, at a public school. The Vice Principal was supposed to drive me to the clinic. It soon became obvious they had to call an ambulance. I had to be very clear with the ER doc I was very hurt. The first ortho wouldn't see me because of a medical records mixup. The office thought I was my mom, the belligerent and violent person with my name, and Alzheimers with dementia. The second ortho was very good, but I had to lean on him for a pbysical exam of my shoulder and adjacent (armpit) area. Only after making him look, did he order the MRI. Only after he looked at the images, because he did not read the report, did he accept the extent of the injuries. The school district made me work, it was going to be manual labor, I declined that and substitute taught instead. Then work comp doc and the surgeon apologized to me over the extent of my injuries, and they fixed them.

A nurse from the district's insurer accompanied me to my doctors visits. It took seven months of rehab to fix it. I worked the whole time. It was a thirty thousand dollar grape on the floor of a cafeteria. Without work comp, it would have destroyed my life, it was my right arm. So screw, screw, screw this attorney in Texas, and use an electric driver, with a long bit.

Even with the coverage I had to shop up the excellent surgeon by stealth, and then convince him of the extent of my injuries. I had to be a very pro active consumer to get taken care of. Making it even slightly more difficult to get help is cruel.
posted by Oyéah at 3:53 PM on October 18, 2015 [39 favorites]


Companies not wanting to pay for on-the-job injuries is yet another problem that universal health care would solve.

Well, yes and no. If companies had no liability for on-the-job injuries, they'd lax their safety standards even more.
posted by jeather at 3:53 PM on October 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Re managers accompanying employees to doctor's appointments, the only thing I can come up with is that it then either allows managers to pressure employees not to seek medical attention in an above-board work-reported "corporate worker's comp lite" way, or puts that pressure directly on the workers by not wanting to "bother" their manager in this way. So you don't say anything, and you go to the doctor on your own time, paid for on your own dime, and without seeking any compensation from your employer.
posted by Sara C. at 3:53 PM on October 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Do small businesses not have a lobby group in the USA? Because here in Australia, the small business associations initially opposed our equivalent programs (typically called something like WorkCover) but have since been solid supporters of them. If you're a small employer then this sort of thing is fantastic. Yes, compliance is annoying, but the alternative - being on the other end of a lawsuit - would bankrupt your business. And part of the money you pay for WorkCover goes to advertising and educational programs that reduce injuries in the workplace and encourages workers to return to work. Also, the business associations probably came to realise that nothing encourages union membership like mistreatment by bad employers: workers' compensation and legislated safety standards help eliminate the horror stories that makes people organise.

I recall that our conservative party tried to run an anti-WorkCover campaign about ten years ago, and the business associations shut that down very quickly.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:08 PM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


the alternative - being on the other end of a lawsuit - would bankrupt your business
That's what tort reform is for! If you don't have to comply, *and* you don't have to worry about expensive lawsuits, why have either? There's no fear of unions anyways.
posted by CrystalDave at 4:10 PM on October 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


I once accidentally bashed my head on something at work and started bleeding. I had no health insurance, so I spent a few minutes panicking about how I could possibly afford an ER visit - and then my boss, who had been on the phone, came back and gave me all the claim info so I could go to the hospital. It was amazing. I cannot tell you how happy I was. I didn't even care about the wait, or the pain, or the fact that I had to get staples because I had, you know, bashed my head open. I'm extraordinarily lucky that this happened at work and not at home, but thank God it was covered.

The point is, worker's comp was literally the only reason I was able to get the necessary medical care I needed at a time when I would have otherwise been completely screwed. I can only imagine that this is true for many millions of Americans, who might otherwise have severely limited access to healthcare. I don't know how to see gutting worker's comp as anything but a demonstration of total contempt for your labor force - "oh, this is costing us so much money, it must be false claims and unnecessary treatment." If only workers would pull it together and stop injuring themselves, right?
posted by teponaztli at 4:11 PM on October 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


One of the frightening angles of this is that paying out worker's comp is one of the ways to force companies to take worker safety more seriously. There's plenty one could say about the oil/mining industry and safety today- and I certainly could, in paragraphs - BUT paying worker's comp alongside fines from organizations like OSHA have forced a collective change over decades to taking safety more seriously, because in the long run poor safety practices cost them more than they save being "not safe". (For example, last year the industry had a rate of 14.1 deaths/100,000 workers compared to 27/100k in 1992 and 44/100k in 1980. Still too high, but an improvement long-term.)

But it takes long-term thinking to see that and it takes long-term thinking to implement it, so it's extremely delicate. This practice is the exact opposite. It's a terribly hard industry to create any kind of atmosphere of safety as it is. This is super scary to see happening.
posted by barchan at 4:18 PM on October 18, 2015 [24 favorites]


Unfortunately almost everyone with any power in this country has never done any sort of physical labor so they don't really get why that might be an issue.

No, don't let them off like that. They understand perfectly why people need compensation, they just don't give a fuck because that cuts into their quarterly bonus.

There's 125 years of worker and individual protection laws in this country, those came about for a reason, every one has a disctinct legal or policy rationale for its existence and each and every protection from child labor to worker's comp to the 40 hour work week was hard fought against ownership and managers who didn't want to pay out or lower productivity. There's a concerted top down class war to undermine all of that, because the 1% and their sycophants like Bill Minick don't give a fuck.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:25 PM on October 18, 2015 [56 favorites]


“It’s not about reducing benefits,” he said. “We can objectively show you that we have saved our clients over a billion dollars against Texas workers’ comp over the past decade."

This is a classically lawyeresque rhetorical move. He's correct: "it" is reducing expenditure, so "it" is indeed not about reducing benefits, because that's just the means to the end. They're not immoral, they're amoral, he clarifies.
posted by clockzero at 4:26 PM on October 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


I worked in the news biz when repetitive stress injury was a huge problem, having to do with keyboards desk design, etc. Those kinds of injuries take weeks and months to develop--there's no aha moment when you're suddenly injured.

How your company handles it is a big factor in how you heal. The crappy Tribune Company was famous for forcing its injured newsroom people at some of its newspapers to give up their editorial jobs and take up assignments as security in the papers' parking lots. As a result, most newsroom people wouldn't report injuries until they were far, far worse, thus lengthening the recovery time by months.

So I guess in Texas, the worker has to go to an appointment with the boss and strip in front of them? That must be a lot of fun. Male bosses? Women workers? wow.
posted by etaoin at 4:28 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: They're not immoral, they're amoral
posted by Bringer Tom at 4:41 PM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think the only likely successful retort to this would be for smart lawyers to find ways to sue the living shit out of every company involved with this in every workplace injury incident. Do it on contingency. Find what works and make this a living fucking nightmare for these companies. Sadly, I grew up in Texas and Oklahoma and there's not enough money in the world to make me willing to live there again, so I won't be doing this myself, but a lot of smart people live there and could.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:45 PM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Seriously, kudos to npr and pro publica. If the lawsuits start flying and it comes out this guys wife was complicit, i mean, shit, the ground work is already there.
posted by valkane at 4:50 PM on October 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


I really hope Dios comes in here and gives his perspective. He's an attorney in Texas who, if I recall correctly, specifically works on workers comp and class-action lawsuits. This gutting of worker's comp — along with "tort reform" — is something that he's fought against for a long time.
posted by klangklangston at 4:54 PM on October 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


I feel like the position of the executives can best be summed up by this quote in the article: “The whole deal is just kind of silly, like most of these deals are — people looking for free money.” It's all a joke to them, a matter of who gets to milk the system for cash.

If there's one thing people hate, it's the thought that someone might be getting something for free. We love the stories about people "fighting" and "not backing down," but the minute you say you need help, the story changes. It's not enough that we idolize a kind of rugged individualism that never really existed in the first place, but we expect everyone else to conform to the myth - and when they don't, fuck 'em. "Let him die!," as they said in 2012.
posted by teponaztli at 4:59 PM on October 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


Single-payer, universal medicare. Problem solved. Next.
posted by mikelieman at 5:03 PM on October 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Wilful: Seriously, WTF? As an Australian, this seems just bizarre. Like a company opting out of pollution control, or the minimum wage or something equally absurd.
Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 - agreed to by the House of Reps, still currently before the Senate.

"There are 30 large companies allowed to self-insure for workers’ compensation under national laws – including Telstra, Optus, National Australia Bank and Australia Post.

The bill, if passed, will throw open the doors for another estimated 2000 companies to self-insure and leave state schemes.
"

Those places are largely exempt from Australia's state-based worker's comp schemes, and for them Comcare really only exists to be a legal arbiter on cases that make it that far.

Telstra, circa 2000: If you reported a potential workplace injury, your immediate line manager (e.g. team leader) was 'strongly encouraged' to accompany you to the doctor and, if possible, to either be present at the examination or obtain your permission to discuss your case with the doctor privately.

('Strongly encouraged' in quotes because, although I never saw it written down anywhere, it was certainly communicated in meetings & training sessions where HR, comp, and higher management people were present. Including the presentation & role-playing of strategies to use to encourage both staff and medical professionals to agree to those requests.)

To their credit, doctors and other medical professionals cottoned on pretty quick and jacked up about it, and the AMA advised their members to refuse such requests. To their discredit, the Telstra unions made a bit of noise about it & then let it go…

Every other example in the posted article has close parallels to what I saw and experienced there, albeit arrived & at implemented by different means. Don't kid yourself that similar sorts of thing doesn't already exist in Australia at least in practice…
posted by Pinback at 5:06 PM on October 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Companies not wanting to pay for on-the-job injuries is yet another problem that universal health care would solve.

Not really. How are you going to pay your rent and grocery bill with universal health care? There is more to workers comp than just medical bills.
posted by JackFlash at 5:08 PM on October 18, 2015 [24 favorites]


barchan: paying worker's comp alongside fines from organizations like OSHA have forced a collective change over decades to taking safety more seriously, because in the long run poor safety practices cost them more than they save being "not safe".

I wonder if that's the long game here, because Republicans/Libertarians hate OSHA and see it as just another example of the evils of regulation. There seems to be a concerted effort to ignore OSHA and force the government to fight it out in court, rather than accept that the law exists to protect workers. The decades of cost savings mean nothing if it's a purely ideological battle.

I don't think universal medicare is the answer either. We have universal health care in Canada, and we also have rational, somewhat consistent provincial Workers' Compensation legislation across the country.
posted by sneebler at 5:08 PM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yes. Helathcare doesn't compensate you for lost time, lost wages, pain, loss of life or physical function, or loss of life quality.
posted by Mitheral at 5:14 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's a problem that campaign finance reform could sure as shit solve, though.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:16 PM on October 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


I wonder, though, if single-payer health care would push back on employer liability. I don't want to pay the health care for someone who was injured due to negligence on the part of their employer -- I want the company who is earning money off that injury to also bear the costs of paying for it.
posted by jeather at 5:23 PM on October 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Years ago I had a workers' comp claim when I fell down a stairway at work. I landed on my shoulder -- actually, I was very lucky my injuries weren't much worse. But I had severe arm pain, restricted movement, and lack of strength for some time. It was complicated by the fact that I was already dealing with injuries from a car accident the previous year.

Anyway, when I went in to see a doctor of my own choice, he tested my strength and grip using a tool that would provide actual measurements with numbers. Soon after, the workers' comp people forced me to see a doctor of their choice. This doctor also measured my strength. By having me push on his arm. With no resistance whatsoever. A newborn baby could have pushed his arm down.

Surprise! The second doctor said I had no injury. (My doctor said "He's a prostitute. He prostitutes himself out to the insurance companies.") Annnnnnd... that was when I hired a lawyer.
posted by litlnemo at 5:25 PM on October 18, 2015 [30 favorites]


Single-payer, universal medicare. Problem solved. Next

I'm 57. I will be long in my grave before that happens in the US. With any luck, my 20-something children might enjoy such rationality before they reach my age. But, I'm not betting on it.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:27 PM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wonder if that's the long game here, because Republicans/Libertarians hate OSHA and see it as just another example of the evils of regulation. There seems to be a concerted effort to ignore OSHA and force the government to fight it out in court, rather than accept that the law exists to protect workers. The decades of cost savings mean nothing if it's a purely ideological battle.

As far as I'm concerned it's nothing but willful, premeditated murder.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:04 PM on October 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


*bitter laughter* this is the outcome of corporate culture that implies that utilizing worker's comp is taking money out of the pockets of your colleagues-- never mind that payroll and worker's comp are totally separate expenses.
posted by lineofsight at 6:21 PM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Texasman/ Floridaman, sometimes that's a very fine line.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 6:43 PM on October 18, 2015


In 2003 I worked on a show, and was injured on the job, dragging heavy set pieces to and from the rehearsal room. I threw my back out something awful, and had to drop out of the show and start physical therapy for about 3 months. However - unbeknownst to me, the producer had never gotten a worker's comp policy. He covered his ass by paying for a month of my therapy at first, but then just.... Stopped. We only found out the truth because I had a union behind me who had the time to grill the producer and figure out how he was trying to cover up.

The part that really got me was that the longest conversation I ever had with the producer was when I was calling to get the policy number from him, and he was trying to convince me to just have the doctor call him. I had been working for him a full month at that point - trying to bring to life a play he had written himself. But - he simply didn't care about being nice to me until I was potentially going to get him in trouble.

I was lucky having a union behind me, and lucky that my injury did me no permanent damage. But that guy is not the only callous, self-centered boss in the world. And there is no way I could have paid for my medical care myself.

Damn them all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:44 PM on October 18, 2015 [30 favorites]


I don't want to pay the health care for someone who was injured due to negligence on the part of their employer -- I want the company who is earning money off that injury to also bear the costs of paying for it.

Here, at least, it's like insurance: employers pay a proportion of the employees' salary, with the percentage determined by the riskiness of the industry and whether it that business has had claims made against it. Also, a business that has been found to be negligent can be fined - so it gets hit twice, once by the fine, once by being forced into a higher bracket. From what I've seen the system works pretty well compared to the alternatives.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:49 PM on October 18, 2015


The part that really got me was that the longest conversation I ever had with the producer was when I was calling to get the policy number from him, and he was trying to convince me to just have the doctor call him.

This is like the drunk who rear-ended your car who wants you to take your car for repairs to his brother-in-law because if you report it, his insurance rates will go up. Employer workers comp insurance rates go up if their rate of claims goes up.
posted by JackFlash at 6:51 PM on October 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


Joe, that's more or less how it works here, though because payout is capped, the percentage that we pay of salary is capped. I'm trying to imagine a fictional country with single-payer health but no worker's comp, and I think that the "not MY tax dollars" might work to create it. Or maybe not; people are weird.
posted by jeather at 7:04 PM on October 18, 2015


*bitter laughter* this is the outcome of corporate culture that implies that utilizing worker's comp is taking money out of the pockets of your colleagues-- never mind that payroll and worker's comp are totally separate expenses.

See, that's exactly the wrong attitude. This should be embraced & seen as the opportunity it is for business to open up a whole new field of revenue generation. When employees have accidents they're putting a strain on their coworkers & ultimately the business suffers as as a result. The true victim here is the employer not the employee, who should be reimbursing the business for revenue lost during their downtime. This synergizes well with lobbying activity to reduce oversight & regulation; now employees can make money for their owner, I mean employer, whether they're able to work or not. It's a win-win situation with no meaningful downside to it.
posted by scalefree at 9:41 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I want the company who is earning money off that injury to also bear the costs of paying for it.

Unemployment insurance works in exactly this manner, and I see no reason it can't be adopted.
posted by pwnguin at 9:42 PM on October 18, 2015


I was offered $21 per day if I stayed home, but the district made me work. They did pay for everything.

Work comp saw me twice, but it was a private insurance company the district contracted with, that ran everything. I was told that I was lucky to have Pinnacle, because they delivered more services than Work comp. Maybe this is a hybrid system like this guy advocates. Don't know.
posted by Oyéah at 9:45 PM on October 18, 2015


jeather: "I wonder, though, if single-payer health care would push back on employer liability. I don't want to pay the health care for someone who was injured due to negligence on the part of their employer -- I want the company who is earning money off that injury to also bear the costs of paying for it."

The best workman compensation programs from the reading I've done are no fault. Otherwise employers are strongly encouraged to discourage employees from reporting injuries and will fight employees who do put in claims over medical costs when the employees can least afford it. The reduction in stress alone advantages the no fault system.

Also here the system protects workers whose employers are playing fast and loose with premiums. As an employee you are covered even if your employer hasn't been paying into the system.
posted by Mitheral at 12:22 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Single-payer, universal medicare. Problem solved. Next.

Sadly, no. Up here in Canada, with lovely single-payer, universal Medicare (and I do love it), my aunt was injured on the job. Her manager threatened her with loss of her job if she sought medical treatment. By the time she was able to go to the hospital the next day, what had been treatable immediately was no longer treatable.

She has been permanently disabled. She cannot lift her arm above her shoulder. She couldn't work at anything for months, and even now, can't work at anything which is the least bit physical.

For her first year, if was Worker's Compensation that paid her rent, supported her daughter who was still in high school. Then Worker's Comp offered her retraining as a library technician. The classes covered MARC records, cataloging systems, etc. She was so happy: after a life of working in factories and distributing plants, she was going to get to work in a library (she loves books). It was hard; she's never been academic. But she passed the courses.

But then she found out that no library around here would hire her unless she first worked as a pager - that is, shelving books, doing exactly what her injury doesn't allow her to do (lift things).

Worker's Comp won't support her anymore, because she's been retrained and thus not their problem. (I have since learned: never accept retraining from our Worker's Comp.) She's still in almost constant pain from her injury and extremely limited in what she can do (it's amazing how every job, even relatively sedentary ones, use your arms. I would rather lose my legs altogether than lose function in my hands and arms).

And she's supported by the local equivalent of social security disability - they give her $1000/month. Her rent is $800. Every month, she's a little farther in debt, or behind on her rent.

Universal healthcare is wonderful. It's no replacement for a real social safety net of the kind we don't have anymore.
posted by jb at 5:33 AM on October 19, 2015 [17 favorites]


Something from the last Texas-oligarch-fuckery thread we had (about Blue Bell ice cream) has stuck with me over the last month as being particularly awful:
Texas companies covered by workers' compensation are immune from civil liability for workplace injuries unless gross negligence causes a death.
Some small, rictus-grinning-optimistic part of me wants to think that in three years, these two horrible wrongs are going to make a right, and some jackass libertarian small business owner who hired this chucklefuck to exempt himself from worker protections is going to discover that he's staring down the barrel of a multimillion dollar liability suit, to which he would otherwise be immune.

I don't have much hope of this, but it's all that keeps me going these days
posted by Mayor West at 6:36 AM on October 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think the only likely successful retort to this would be for smart lawyers to find ways to sue the living shit out of every company involved with this in every workplace injury incident. Do it on contingency. Find what works and make this a living fucking nightmare for these companies.

Plaintiff attorneys working on contingency would be fools to touch most of these cases. I'll repeat myself: today's courts (both the SCOTUS, and courts in states likely to pursue this) tend to enforce binding arbitration clauses, class action waivers (and class certification has been made much more difficult to achieve).

See e.g. http://www.natlawreview.com/article/employee-arbitration-and-class-action-waiver-agreements-help-limit-employer-liabilit (April 2015)

If eliminating work comp was to open these companies up to unknown/uncontrollable legal risk and exposure to large verdicts from sympathetic juries, they wouldn't be pursuing it.

Some small, rictus-grinning-optimistic part of me wants to think that in three years, these two horrible wrongs are going to make a right, and some jackass libertarian small business owner who hired this chucklefuck to exempt himself from worker protections is going to discover that he's staring down the barrel of a multimillion dollar liability suit, to which he would otherwise be immune.

Even chucklefucks know how to cut and paste an arbitration clause from a form library.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:55 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it's about time for states like California and NY to throw around their massive spending power and enact economic sanctions with companies based in Texas.
posted by any major dude at 6:56 AM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Dammit, Costco. For a while there I thought you were trying to be not-as-evil.
posted by clawsoon at 7:01 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it's about time for states like California and NY to throw around their massive spending power and enact economic sanctions with companies based in Texas.

Anything like that probably runs into all kinds of Constitutional problems and goes splat, unless the Federal goverment looks the other way.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:04 AM on October 19, 2015


At least he's doing God's Work:
"All you can do is pray that the Lord gives you a calling where you can really do good for society," he said. "That's what gets me up every day, knowing that I'm getting better employee satisfaction and generating economic development. That's as good as it gets."
The road to Hell, etc. etc.
posted by clawsoon at 7:08 AM on October 19, 2015


Tangential effects, Texas "opt-out" WC plans are not subject to typical offsets for Social Security, that means that injury claims under these plans that result in disability cost the Social Security Trust fund more money, because the state WC system is not paying any portion of the cost. The entire burden falls on SS.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:17 AM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Y,all, we have a state where HOAs (home owner associations), can seize hundreds of thousands of dollars in private property for the nonpayment of a few hundred dollars in arbitrary fees. The laws in this state are specifically written to protect the HOA management companies. Coincidentally, 5 of the most profitable HOAs are owned by Texas state senators. Huh, weird that.

Texas has no fucks to give about workers, students, immigrants, or anyone below the income line that donates heavily to the political class. That it allows companies to maim and mistreat its worker class least likely to be able to fight, not a real surprise.

Texas is filled with the most wonderful friendly folks you could ever find. We have astonishing arts and culture. Rumor has it we have sports of some various denominations. But y'all, our political structure is stuffed full of crazy eyed babblers who use the bible as a cudgel to beat down their fellow man, and who blame the downtrodden for not trying hard enough. These are some entrenched, gospel waggling, bootstrap waving, spray haired wanna be televangelist loonies.

And damned if I understand the republican magic that keeps the downtrodden voting for them.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:33 AM on October 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


And damned if I understand the republican magic that keeps the downtrodden voting for them.

Racism and Jesus is a powerful combo.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:35 AM on October 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: We only found out the truth because I had a union behind me who had the time to grill the producer and figure out how he was trying to cover up.

Say what you want about the claims mediators from the Italian-American Very Legitimate Businessmens Association but they know how to get the job done.
posted by dr_dank at 7:36 AM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


The best workman compensation programs from the reading I've done are no fault. Otherwise employers are strongly encouraged to discourage employees from reporting injuries and will fight employees who do put in claims over medical costs when the employees can least afford it. The reduction in stress alone advantages the no fault system.

But they're still paying via payroll taxes -- essentially government-run insurance on workplace accidents.
posted by jeather at 7:37 AM on October 19, 2015


In case y'all were wondering where this is all going, The National Review's Kevin Williamson has a preview. I'll just quote the first sentence as kind of a trigger warning for anyone who might not be emotionally capable of hate-reading the rest of it right now:
The company town gets a bad rap.
John Holbo at Crooked Timber helpfully translates the original conservatarian into plain English (emphasis mine):
Under Williamson's proposal, we still overtax workers (by Williamson's lights), who in effect make interest-free loans to the federal government, which gives the money to private employers, to give the money back to workers with strings attached, to make them beholden to these employers (and to foster an irrational sense of gratefulness and obligation to employers, who will seem to be the source of the largesse, but aren't.) This makes sense if generating unequal regimes of private power and domination is an end in itself. It will turn these jobs into dead-ends in at least one sense. It will make them marginally harder to exit - like a company town. (I did like this line from the piece. "Some people never learn.") Williamson tries to salve this no-exit problem by suggesting employers could offer stingy pay packets to save up for generous severance packages. That would foster mobility. But a likelier strategy, assuming employers like having power - or simply are profit-maximizers - is to assume they would knit strands of federal subsidy into webs of private power and control. It would be like employer-provided health care: you can less easily afford to quit, because benefits (housing, financial services (?), delayed pay-outs) are tied to your job. If employees can less afford to quit, employers pay less, control more. The point is not, as Williamson says, that this would allow the unemployed to say `yes'. The point is that this would lessen the power of the employed to say `no'.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:41 AM on October 19, 2015 [13 favorites]


The company town gets a bad rap.

Oh man, fuck you.

"Serfdom, actually not that bad!"
posted by Artw at 7:59 AM on October 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Texas America has no fucks to give about workers, students, immigrants, or anyone below the income line that donates heavily to the political class.

Racism and Jesus is a powerful combo.

Also my least favorite Steve Vai album.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:24 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Company towns became okay places to live only after workers fought and died for better conditions.
posted by clawsoon at 8:32 AM on October 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


When you’re saving that kind of money, you don’t have to get hung up on squeezing the employee.”

Good thing we can eat money, right?

...right?

...that's a thing you can do, isn't it? Money's edible?


After reports of workers signing waivers at hospitals — sometimes while still bleeding — the legislature tried to ban that too.

Damn government always trying to interfere in business.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:54 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


This guy is a depraved jackass.

But... I actually support what he is doing for entirely opposite reasons. I hate the Texas Worker's Compensation system.

It is nothing more than an insurance company protection racket.

The TWC system is sold as this wonderful "no-fault" system. If you get hurt at your job, you get defined benefits without having to prove your employer was at fault. Sounds like a great idea, right? Wrong. When an employer is a subscriber to that system, the employees are stuck in that system exclusively (unless they opt out within 10 days of being hired and no one does that). That means, you lose your access to the courts. If they start jacking with your benefits, you cannot go to a court or jury to get them. You only go down to the Division of Worker's Compensation to a bunch of bureaucrats to complain. Oh, and guess what? Those bureaucrats are basically the insurance company's captive friends. Insurance company wants to refuse to pay something? Go complain to his buddy who will say it is ok to deny coverage. Disagree? Don't go to the courthouse because you are barred access to the courts by workers compensation statute.

Now some companies are "non-subscribers" to the system. And I wish they all were. If you get hurt on the job, you can sue the non-subscriber in a court at law. And for some peculiar reason (peculiar because it is so rare to have a plaintiff/worker beneficial law), the law punishes non-subscribers by saying that they cannot use "comparative negligence" (or what is called elsewhere contributory negligence) as a defense. That means your employer cannot defend itself by saying the employee as at fault. And if you go to Court, I can assure you that you will get more benefits than you will through the "defined/guarantee" TWC system.

Some companies are large enough that they are betting on injured workers not hiring lawyers. It's worth it to them to get popped now and again on significant stuff because the smaller stuff gets lost in the wash and its hard to find an attorney. For those companies, being a non-subscriber has a different calculus because the sheer quantity of all the minor injuries.

Injured workers will always find more justice and support in the Courts than from the TWC system. And on serious, catastrophic injuries, the benefits from going to Court will be multiples of what you'll get from the TWC system. So I think it is a really good thing for seriously injured workers for companies to be non-subscribers. The only downside is that on the little stuff--the sprained elbows or temporarily sore back--the nonsubscribers can jack with you and it's going be hard to fine an attorney when you get only $2k in benefits when you should have gotten $3k under the TWC. Fighting a lawsuit over $1k is cost prohibitive. I don't know the numbers as to how many more people are screwed on the small stuff, but I'm guessing these assholes know because that's what they are betting on.

All I can tell you is that on the really serious stuff--the kind of catastrophic injuries I get called on--I want employers to be non-subscribers because it is the grievously injured's only hope at being made whole. They certainly have no hope in the TWC system.
posted by dios at 8:57 AM on October 19, 2015 [16 favorites]


(missed preview)
is like they hate the people who work for them so much that they're willing to poison themselves provided the poison kills the employees first.

You're right, it's hard to figure these people’s perspective on the world. I can’t imagine how insulated they must be from the reality of doing something oneself. I recall the problem in Chicago with the Sun Times’ Roger Ebert (RIP) and ex-con Conrad Black (played by Brian Cox) Black intimated Ebert should be somehow grateful to Black (who embezzled money from the Sun Times because he needed to buy some stuff) for being employed.
Ebert answered that he actually did compensable work, something called “earning” money, in contrast to Black himself and sundry cronies.

I don’t get how that idea exists, making money without some work involved. I can see (ass pull here, but location involved) Oprah Winfrey could have a chip on her shoulder, but she can point and say look, I started with nothing and busted my ass and worked hard. Or Jobs and Wozniak, and/or Jack Dorsey not poor, but working stiffs to start out.

Perhaps some self-delusional noblesse oblige...given that they are the noblesse of course.

I was listening to some crackpot on the radio extol the virtues of efficiency in government and after bludgeoning the thing into bits of silicon and plastic it occurred to me I was unaware of where I’d first heard that idea and where it had come from. So I did a (very) little research and traced it back to a humanitarian engineer, almost an Objectivist hero type, who saved perhaps millions of Europeans and Russians from starvation with food relief around WWI and who, as President, reined in government intervention in favor of self-reliance.
Of course, Herbert Hoover’s presidency did see a few problems :-P
But that seems to be the nucleus of the modern “efficiency” in government idea as it connects with the idea that somehow people with greater wealth would help and straighten things out, were it not for all that red tape.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:02 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don’t get how that idea exists, making money without some work involved.

Capitalism isn't about work, it's about striving to isolate yourself from work — I mean that's why they call it capitalism, rather than laborism or whatever. It's the absolute foundation of our system; some people work, and work keeps them too busy to lead, and so they are directed by capital-owners who don't have to work and so have time to give direction to society broadly.

The principle that you should work for your food and shelter is the underlying principle of socialism as described by the Bolsheviks. After a certain time under socialism, they argued, the productive capacities unleashed by the "don't work, don't eat" system would produce so much abundance that we could transition to full communism, wherein everyone (and not just a few lucky capital-holders) can choose whether or not they want to work.

Unfortunately, for various reasons the scheme didn't work out as planned.

Nevertheless, it's important to note that the idea that work and compensation are or should be intimately connected is currently just a wishful superstition of the working-class and middle-class, rather than something that actually describes our society. In the real world, work is what you do as a last resort if and only if you have no other commodities to sell and if and only if you haven't maneuvered yourself into a position that allows you to extract rents.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:23 AM on October 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


This gutting of worker's comp — along with "tort reform" — is something that he's fought against for a long time.

Close. I have been against tort reform and actually have testified in Austin in front of the Lege against it. Tort reform is nothing more than legislation designed to curtail the Seventh Amendment and protect insurance companies--not businesses... it is to protect insurance companies.

The Workers' compensation system in Texas, as it currently exists, also curtails your Seventh Amendment rights. I wish it was gutted (in practice, not principle) and replaced. I would support an intelligent workers' compensation system that protected workers and allowed them access to the courthouse. And they may exist. It's not the one I have here in my beloved mistake. The one I have here is horrible.

The best check against the abuse of process, against corporations who put profits ahead of people, and against the fundamental injustices that disproportionately burden the least advantage is the right to trial by jury guaranteed by the Seventh Amendment. It is only there that 12 of your fellow citizens get to sit and be the voice of the conscience of the community and get to define the world that we want to live in. It is the way to justice. It is check against injustice. It is the check against abuse because your fellow citizens will not tolerate abuse lest it fall upon them next. Any policy that seeks to avoid that possibility of 12 jurors saying "this isn't right"--such as mandatory arbitration, tort reform, exclusive administrative jurisdiction like the TWC--is a deprivation of your rights and a protection of those who will profit off injustice.

Or as Thomas Jefferson said: ""I consider Trial by Jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution".
posted by dios at 9:25 AM on October 19, 2015 [12 favorites]


All I can tell you is that on the really serious stuff--the kind of catastrophic injuries I get called on--I want employers to be non-subscribers because it is the grievously injured's only hope at being made whole. They certainly have no hope in the TWC system.

What happens when the non-subscriber puts a mandatory binding arbitration clause in their employment contracts?
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:45 AM on October 19, 2015


Say what you want about the claims mediators from the Italian-American Very Legitimate Businessmens Association but they know how to get the job done.

See, this is exactly why unions are losing power - because there's this whole utterly stupid "mafia control" misconception thing happening.

And it isn't true, and it is taking power away from unions, and it is just as untrue as the Planned Parenthood video or the 9/11 truther stuff or the birther rumors or the faked-moon-landing bullshit.

Even in jest, you shouldn't be saying shit like that because it is part of what is taking the teeth out of the unions to stop the corproations from pulling this shit.

shame on you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:47 AM on October 19, 2015 [14 favorites]


There was a time when it was true but that time is long past now.
posted by scalefree at 12:06 PM on October 19, 2015


Having grown up in a predominantly Italian neighborhood (think Jersey Shore without the sand set squarely in Long Island), I've known those families involved in "Families" and such approaches to labor relations still fell into their wheelhouse. Maybe not to the degree it once was in the days of Hoffa, but I wouldn't want to cross a Teamster or Longshoremen picket line if I valued my ability to chew solid foods.

I'm don't say this as a bad thing. Private sector non-Union employers have been screwing over workers for years in every conceivable way (wages, hours, benefits, outsourcing, etc) and it only seems to get worse every year. If they had some of that same muscle standing behind them, maybe management would think twice before trying to take food out of the mouths of the people that enrich them so.
posted by dr_dank at 12:59 PM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


yeah, I think the problem with unions-and-the-mafia jokes is less that they're suggesting unions are violent (it's good for unions to have militant wings and/or militant connections) and more that they suggest that unions are corrupt.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:19 PM on October 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


At least in Australia, unions very often are corrupt. It might be different in the USA, where they seem to be much more vulnerable.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:12 PM on October 19, 2015


I'd also like to echo snuffle's question to dios about binding arbitration clauses. Isn't the worker still prohibited from the courts, given that arbitration clauses are generally enforced by a court who won't hear an arbitration case?

Also the Italian American mafia slur is bullshit, and I flagged it.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 2:14 PM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I recently visited a slate mine in North Wales.

On the tourist trail, they pointed out a box which was used to carry injured miners to the surface. So practised (because they cared about their friends' health) were the workers at getting their colleagues out, they could drag the injured to the mine entrance very quickly. Only trouble was (the guide explained) that the entrance to the mine was not company property and as such the injured party would not qualify for any compensation. This was just one of the dirty tricks played by the wealthy mine owners in order to maximise their profits on the backs of the working poor.
posted by Myeral at 3:34 AM on October 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


At least in Australia, unions very often are corrupt.

Well, yeah. So are virtually all groups of people, as well as individual persons. But when someone embezzles from Walmart, no one suggests that Walmart should be outlawed.
posted by Etrigan at 6:46 AM on October 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


God though it would be fantastic to outlaw Walmart, wouldn't it?

Now I'm having a fantasy about well-organized employees all going up to their bosses and explaining that they don't see any need for Walmart coming between them as an unnecessary and corrupt third party, explaining that management doesn't really benefit from the presence of the company, and further explaining that henceforth decisions will be made by the well-organized employees and disorganized management without the intrusion of any of these no good awful very bad third party corporate entities...

We could call states where third party corporate organization of management was banned "right to work states," because if workers were well-organized and management disorganized, workers would ultimately call the shots - no one would be fired because they didn't want to cooperate with one of those nasty third party entities like Walmart.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:39 AM on October 20, 2015


Why, most people don't realize company scrip is actually more valuable than money!
posted by klangklangston at 11:00 AM on October 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


When Walmart is outlawed, only outlaws will woodchuck wood.


...no, wait.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:59 PM on October 20, 2015


U.S. Lawmakers Call for More Oversight of Workers’ Comp:
Ten prominent Democratic lawmakers, including presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, are urging the U.S. secretary of labor to come up with a plan to ensure that state workers’ compensation programs are properly caring for injured workers.

The lawmakers’ letter, sent Tuesday, was prompted by an investigation by ProPublica and NPR, which found that more than 30 states have cut benefits to injured workers, created daunting hurdles to getting medical care or made it more difficult for workers with certain injuries and illnesses to qualify.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:38 PM on October 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


And here's the Center for Economic and Policy Research report alluded to at the end of that article. It's a PDF.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:49 PM on October 22, 2015


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