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Labor has thing or two to say about workers’ comp editorial

Post by Kim Bradford on Jan. 29, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
February 12, 2010 1:27 pm

The Washington State Labor Council is firing back after our editorial on workers’ compensation today. No surprise there. We backed changes in the insurance program for injured workers, changes that labor adamantly opposes.

I’ll let most of the WSLC’s response speak for itself. But there are two charges that I can’t let go unanswered. The first:

We see corporate lobbying groups and certain politicians criss-crossing the state to tell business owners they are getting a raw deal, that the government doesn’t care about them, and the grass is greener across the state line. (Those politicians are having a tough time getting elected with their “Washington Sucks” message though. Right, Dino?) We see the think tanks they fund and the consultants they hire churning out “studies” that decry our workers’ compensation system. And we see newspaper editorial writers accept their findings as fact and entirely ignore the perspectives of injured workers.

I’m not sure who exactly the labor council thinks has been bought off, but the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research might take issue with that allegation. It was the firm hired by the state because, as Upjohn explained in its report on the workers’ compensation system, “concerns exist at both the legislature and in the Department of Labor and Industries as there appears to have been a sharp upturn in the number of pensions awarded since late in the 1990s.” Sure enough, Upjohn found that Washington awarded nearly eight times more workers’ comp pensions than an average state its size.

Then there was this labor council statement:

Look, nobody thinks they’ll get injured at work. It’s especially easy to understand why a newspaper editorial writer, for example, might not value this insurance much. Unless she leans against her desk, slips on the spittle beside her keyboard and cracks her head on her Chamber of Commerce award, she is unlikely to ever suffer a disabling work injury.

Ha! I may not have a chamber award to crack my head on, but statements like that do make me snort coffee out my nose. Does that count as a disabling workplace injury?

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