This week, workers’ compensation is all over the news. NPR and ProPublica are releasing a series investigating the destruction of WC across the country. What stands out? Washington is among the fairest WC systems in the country.
Until recently, America’s workers could rely on a compact struck at the dawn of the Industrial Age: They’d give up their right to sue. In exchange, if they were injured on the job, their employers would pay their medical bills and enough of their wages to help them get by while they recovered.
Over the past decade, state after state has been dismantling America’s workers’ comp system with disastrous consequences for many of the hundreds of thousands of people who suffer serious injuries at work each year, a ProPublica and NPR investigation has found.
Many workers who do not receive sufficient compensation plummet into poverty, unable to return to work and coping with insurmountable medical bills.
Thirty-three states have cut benefits or made it harder to qualify. ProPublica says:
Presented with ProPublica and NPR’s findings, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., one of the leading worker advocates in Congress, said the changes undermine the basic protections for injured workers.
The rollback “would be bad if it were happening in one state,” he said. “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,” Casey added. “That’s a real insult to workers.”
The WC system has been designed to protect our workers when they are injured in the workplace. When we roll back their benefits, we are no longer protecting them. WSAJ supports our workers and protecting our state’s strong workers’ comp system.