Another day, another alarming article on the efforts of Big Business to dismantle State Workers’ Compensation Funds
This article in Mother Jones discusses large corporations financial backing of a lobbying group, the Association for Responsible Alternative to Workers” Compensation (ARAWC). ARAWC’s goal is to pass laws in all 50 states allowing private employers to opt out of traditional workers’ compensation plans. The laws would still require employers to purchase workers’ comp coverage, but the employer would define what is actually covered.
I think this would be okay if employers actually had the best interests of their employees in mind. But lets be honest, employers are in the business of making profits. Thus employers will do anything to increase their profits and decrease costs. Makes sense. I suppose there’s is nothing wrong with this, but tell that to the 23 year old man in Tennessee who was paralyzed by his workplace injury. ARAWC is apparently lobbying A Tennessee senator to introduce a bill that would allow a company to stop paying lifetime benefits after three years or $300, 000, whichever comes first.
This will not go far for the paralyzed man. But hey, as the saying goes “its not personal, its just business.” By the way the article mentions that ARAWC, has spent $50,000 dollars to push its legislation in Tennessee. That’s crazy, $50k dollars buys influence. The implications of these laws are huge, yet they can be influenced by an amount as low as $50k
Are there problems with the workers’ comp system in Ohio, sure. But its stable, the rules are defined, workers know where they stand. Allowing companies to opt out and define the limits of their coverage is a race to the bottom. I guess the question is, do we wish to be like ultra-capitalistic China, where profits trump everything else, including the well being of employees. I think everyone would agree, we would not.
Let us hope and pray that our legislatures won’t succumb to the rhetoric of ARAWC.