Good job guys, keep supporting Republicans.
Last week, the GOP-controlled Senate Commerce and Labor Committee narrowly advanced SB 6579 to create a legislative task force to make recommendations on how to privatize the state workers’ compensation system by July 1, 2017. The bill passed on a strict party-line vote with Sens. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane), John Braun (R-Centralia), Curtis King (R-Yakima) and Judy Warnick (R-Moses Lake) voting for it and Sens. Bob Hasegawa (D-Seattle), Steve Conway (D-Tacoma) and Karen Keiser (D-Kent) voting against it.
“Another bad idea and a slap in the face to injured workers and our members (at the state Department of Labor and Industries) who never quit on workers’ comp benefits,” reported the Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28.
Other 2016 attacks on the safety net for injured workers, which passed the Senate labor committee on the same party-line vote, include:
SB 5509 would redefine occupational disease with a new four-part test that gives employers near immunity for any illnesses/conditions that can be partially blamed on non-work activities, and dramatically restricting the time frame for filing claims.
SB 6321 opens up the independent contractor test to make more workers contractors, and appears to allow such a determination after a worker is injured. The worker may not even know they’re independent contractors and uncovered.
SB 6602 , which is scheduled for executive action in the Senate labor committee today (Feb. 1), would allow self-insured employers to allow and deny claims without Labor and Industries oversight.
These bills are now in the Senate Rules Committee waiting to be scheduled for a vote of the full Senate. They face a Feb. 17 cutoff deadline to come to a vote.
TAKE A STAND — Call the Legislature’s toll-free message center at 1-800-562-6000 and leave a message for your senator to oppose all four bills (SB 6579, 5509, 6321 and 6602) because privatizing workers’ comp and other efforts to weaken the safety net for injured workers are wrong for Washington’s working families.
Keep Up The Fight - against Republicans.