Stop Companies From Taking Away Workers’ Comp

Construction Worker_By_Brisbane City Council

Target: U.S. President, Barack Obama

Goal: Don’t let companies opt-out of regulated workers’ compensation programs.

In Texas and Oklahoma, laws have been passed that allow companies to opt-out of mandatory workers’ compensation programs and instead write their own workplace injury plans. Because opting out allows employers to determine what and how much they will cover in the event of an injury or death, many of these plans are endangering workers whose benefits are being cut dramatically. Such legislation is endangering the lives of millions of workers, and the passage of these laws in additional states cannot be allowed.

Workers’ compensation laws are essential because they protect employees and their families in the event of injury or death. These laws require all companies to pay workers’ medical bills and some of their lost wages until they recover from their on-the-job injury, or for life in the event that they never recover.  What is essential about workers’ compensation is that it is heavily regulated by the government, ensuring that employers are not taking advantage of their workers. An analysis done by ProPublica looked at 120 opt-out plans and found that 80 percent of them offered lower benefits than workers’ comp. Many of these plans  cover fewer injuries, cut off benefit payments sooner, have very limited timeframes in which to report injuries, require that the companies get to choose doctors to treat their employees, and impose mandatory settlements. These limited workplace injury plans blatantly violate state-mandated benefits for employees.

Allowing companies to opt-out of workers’ compensation programs is dangerous and unjust for all workers. We cannot allow further states to pass laws that put the safety of employees back in the heavily biased hands of their employers and their wallets. Please sign the below petition to demand that such opt-out laws be declared illegal.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Obama,

Laws have been passed in both Texas and Oklahoma that allow companies to opt-out of government regulated workers’ compensation programs, instead allowing them to write their own workplace injury plans. These laws are endangering millions of workers whose benefits are being dramatically cut at the hands of their employers. Plans are in the works to bring similar legislation to more states in the U.S., and it is essential that these laws be made illegal in an effort to protect the safety and lives of U.S. workers and their families.

The workers’ compensation program is extremely important as it protects employees, requiring all companies to pay workers’ medical bills and some of their lost wages until they recover from an on-the -job injury, or for life in the event they never recover. However, companies that are allowed to opt-out of workers’ comp, get to decide what and how much they will cover in the event of an employee’s injury or death. As a result, millions of workers are subject to opt-out plans that cover much less than workers’ compensation requires, which blatantly violates state-mandated benefit requirements. A recent study by ProPublica looked at 120 opt-out plans and found that 80 percent offered lower benefits that workers’ comp. Many of these plans  cover fewer injuries, cut off benefit payments sooner, have very limited timeframes in which to report injuries, require that the companies get to choose doctors to treat their employees, and impose mandatory settlements.

Allowing companies to opt-out of workers’ compensation programs is unsafe and unjust for American workers. We cannot allow these laws in Texas and Oklahoma to stand, and we cannot allow further states to pass similar opt-out legislation. Please take a stand and defend all workers’ rights to fair and just workers’ compensation, regardless of what state they work in or what company they work for.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Brisbane City Council

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