To: The New York State House and The New York State Senate
Stop the Destruction of New York State Workers' Comp as proposed in the 2016 Executive Budget
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New York's injured workers are already suffering. New York State Senate and Assembly must stand with ALL workers and oppose proposals in the NYS 2016 Executive Budget that if passed, will slash worker protections and restrict due process in the Workers' Comp System.
Why is this important?
The Workers’ Protection Coalition is fighting for a fair and just Workers’ Compensation System for all injured workers. We must stop the proposed cuts and slashing of worker protections. Here's what's at stake:
1. Disabled workers deserve full settlements. The Budget would eliminate the Aggregate Trust Fund, in turn slashing settlements for workers who are permanently disabled, widows and dependents of workers who died on the job. It would be a second reduction for the permanently partially disabled workers whose compensation was decimated by the 2007 caps, and would do enormous damage to those who are permanently totally disabled or who are beneficiaries in death cases.
2. New Yorkers who work two jobs or are paid by the hour should not be treated as second class citizens. The Budget would unfairly change the way a worker’s salary is calculated, reduce benefits for hourly workers in all types of employment, and prevent those who work two jobs from being compensated for all of their lost wages. Workers deserve fair compensation for their lost wages. The law shouldn’t be changed to deflate their average weekly wages and in turn, provide substandard compensation.
3. Workers must be able to choose their own doctors and manage their own health care. The Budget would allow for workers’ employers to choose their doctors, while giving the Workers’ Compensation Board unchecked and undemocratic authority to regulate doctors and remove them from the system. Workers are entitled to manage their own health care, and doctors should be regulated by qualified medical professionals, not the Workers’ Compensation Board.
4. Injured workers deserve a fair hearing. The Budget would remove the right of workers and employers to have their cases decided by the same judge who heard their case. Instead, the Workers’ Compensation Board would be allowed to assign any case at any time to any judge in the state for any reason, when making a final decision. This would deny workers their fundamental right to a fair hearing and an impartial, reasoned decision.
5. Injured workers deserve a democratic process and the chance to appeal. The Budget would eliminate the right of workers and employers to have appeals decided by a panel of three Commissioners appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Legislature. Instead, it would allow most appeals to be decided by any lawyer employed by the Board; and end all meaningful Legislative participation in the workers’ compensation system.
6. Doctors should be regulated by doctors, not bureaucrats. The Budget would eliminate the role of the Medical Societies in qualifying doctors to treat injured workers. Instead, the Workers’ Compensation Board would be given broad power to require doctors to sign “authorization agreements,” and to bar them from the system if it chooses to do so, limiting the medical treatment available to injured workers.