Connect with us


Contact Gregoire: Protect injured workers’ safety net!

As budget negotiations drag on between House and Senate leaders, powerful business lobbying groups in Olympia are using the special overtime session to push legislators to approve the biggest cut in guaranteed benefits to injured workers in the history of Washington state.

(That’s right, some legislators have made the case that this dramatic cut in workers’ compensation benefits is “necessary to implement the budget,” which is why the issue remains on the table as the session drags on.)

ESB 5566, which passed the Senate but died in the House during the regular session, would legalize “compromise-and-release” lump-sum buyouts of injured workers. For an indication of how motivated business groups are to pass ESB 5566, on Tuesday — for the fourth time — House Republicans attempted a procedural motion to suspend rules and force a vote on it against the will of House Democratic leaders. Once again, their attempt failed 52-43.

Why the desperation? As state workers’ compensation funds recover on their own from recession-caused instability, business groups know rates will stabilize and their “window of opportunity” to cut $1.2 billion in injured workers’ benefits will be lost. The momentum created by recent rate increases — which have actually been smaller than rate increases from previous recessions — will likely evaporate, so it’s now-or-never time to legalize lump-sum settlements.

TAKE ACTION: Individual legislators have already received thousands of phone calls and emails urging them to oppose any form of “compromise-and-release” lump-sum settlements. That’s why the Washington State Labor Council asks that everyone URGE GOV. CHRIS GREGOIRE TO PROTECT OUR SAFETY NET FOR INJURED WORKERS.

Please do two things:

1) Click here to send Gov. Gregoire an email on this issue.

2) Call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and leave this message for the Governor: “Protect the safety net for injured workers. Oppose compromise-and-release lump-sum buyouts in any form!”

For more information, see The TRUTH About Compromise-and-Release Lump-Sum Buyouts.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!