To Union Leaders:
The New York Workers’ Compensation Alliance supports the effort by the New York State AFL-CIO to prevent the Workers’ Compensation Board from harming injured workers.
The Board recently released proposed regulations and impairment guidelines that would drastically cut compensation awards for injured workers who have lost some or all of the use of their limbs. The Board’s proposals are a direct attack on workers, and are clearly designed to eliminate compensation benefits for workplace injuries.
The Board has released no documents or information providing even a shred of medical support for the revision of its guidelines, nor has it explained how loss of function is now significantly less impactful than it has been in the past.
The Business Council, which has been pushing for the changes, claims that revisions are necessary because schedule-loss-of-use costs are skyrocketing. This is simply false. Schedule loss awards represent only a small portion of all employer costs, which are lower today than they were in 1996, and which were just reduced by nearly a half billion dollars.
In fact, schedule loss evaluations under current guidelines do not fairly compensate injured workers for the economic loss they suffer as the result of workplace injury. The proposed regulations also would strip injured workers of important protections and due process rights, and would create a system ripe for abuse by employers, insurers, “independent” medical examiners, and IME vendors.
In the original workers’ compensation “bargain” workers gave up the right to sue employers for workplace injury in exchange for the assurance that they would be compensated for their injuries through the workers’ compensation system. These proposed regulations and guidelines destroy that bargain and will leave thousands of injured workers with no compensation at all for their workplace injury.
The bottom line is that proposals take the money to compensate injured workers and give it to big businesses and insurance companies. We must stand together to support New York’s workers and reject these destructive proposals. Please make your voice heard to the State legislature and to the Workers’ Compensation Board by visiting http://www.nyworkerscompensationalliance.org/protectinjuredworkers, and by supporting the AFL-CIO campaign here: https://is.gd/mNr8a2.