Contact Senate: No benefit cuts! Pass budget, go home!

When 10,000 gathered at the Capitol at the April 8 rally, several speakers urged opposition to "starve and settle" -- also known as "compromise and release" lump-sum buyouts.

The Washington State Labor Council is asking union members and other supporters of the safety net for injured workers to contact Senate Democratic leaders and urge them to end efforts to cut workers’ compensation benefits, and just pass the budget and go home.

Two weeks into the special session ostensibly needed to pass the 2011-13 operating budget, a budget solution appears to be at hand. But Gov. Chris Gregoire revealed Thursday that the Senate refuses to vote on it until they get action on more than $1 billion in proposed workers’ compensation benefit cuts sought by business lobbying groups. The state estimates the Senate-approved lump-sum buyout proposal will cut benefits by $1.2 billion, or $105,000 per injured worker.

TAKE ACTION: To impose a billion-dollar benefit cut on injured workers, the Democrat-controlled State Senate is playing chicken with the House — on our special-session dime! — rather than passing a budget and going home! CLICK HERE to contact the Democratic leaders of the Senate! Tell them: “Don’t cut the safety for injured workers! Just pass the budget and go home!”

According to the WSLC:

One of the latest proposals to cut workers’ comp benefits is to legalize lump-sum buyouts for workers who are 55 years and older. Another is to create an “offset” that would cut disability payments dollar-for-dollar for those who receive Social Security. Both target the most disabled older workers for significantly lower benefits than they would otherwise receive.

For more information, see The Stand’s May 6 posting — Senate: No budget until workers’ comp is cut.

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