Workers compensation is often referred to as an “historic grand bargain” in which workers gave up their right to sue their employer for the “sure and certain” relief of workers’ compensation. Employers received immunity from lawsuits in exchange for providing more limited but certain support for workers injured on the job. The ProPublica studies referenced in this edition shows how that promise is being unraveled. Now, not satisfied with tearing down the “sure and certain” relief in so many states around the union, a group of employers has banded together and seeks to totally renege on the historic bargain altogether.
Mother Jones details the lobbying efforts emerging to tear down the workers’ comp system and replace it with employer-provided “benefit programs.” The catch? The employers write the rules, pick the doctors, handle the disputes, determine the scope of coverage (or lack there of), and construct the whole system in their own interests, not their workers’. Two states have already enacted this travesty, and the results are horrid for workers.
The big question for Washingtonians is why Nordstrom is joining this sordid effort and disreputable group. A generation ago, Nordstrom was the gold standard for customer service and was highly desired and rated as an employer. What changed? These efforts show this may not be our parents’ Nordstrom. We hope they don’t join Washington Mutual as a local company that has built good will for generations, only to suck it away for short-term profits.
Please, say it ain’t so.