By MIKE LEE
The union is taking part in an all-out effort to fight proposed changes to workers’ compensation system in New York State, changes that affect all workers injured on the job.
The NYS Workers’ Compensation Board has proposed medical treatment guidelines and regulations that would eliminate monetary awards for dozens of arm and leg injuries, while also denying workers the right to have an independent medical examination. The change would also deny benefits and care to workers injured on the job who fail to answer all the questions posed by an employer’s medical examiner.
Workers’ compensation, which has been on the books in New York for a century, is being threatened by right-wing business interests, such as the Business Council, which was able to pressure the state Workers’ Compensation Board to issue proposed changes to longstanding regulations earlier this year.
The board’s action unleashed a firestorm of criticism and a fightback by unions and workers advocacy groups.
“Who will gain more with these proposals? Certainly not an injured worker,” said DC 37 Safety and Health Director Guille Mejia.
“The only beneficiaries from these proposals, should they be implemented, will be employers and insurers who have been pushing the board to control and ultimately eliminate monetary awards beyond wage replacement to injured workers,” she said.
“This plan is an insult to all working men and women,” said NYS AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento. “Benefit cuts for injured workers are wholly unjustifiable.”