Statement by California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski
“Finally, there’s a solution to the growing workers’ compensation crisis – a bill that provides a system-wide benefit increase of $860 million for injured workers, while reducing delays and friction that waste time and money.
“SB 863 is a landmark proposal that achieves a true rarity in Sacramento. It finds a way to increase benefits while reducing costs. After months of negotiations between labor and management, and a statewide listening tour hosted by the Department of Industrial Relations, a comprehensive reform deal was struck that benefits both workers and employers.
“Under this proposal, workers receive a 30 percent benefit increase. Those injured on the job will receive faster, higher quality medical treatment. Workers on permanent disability will receive a benefit increase and quicker payments of benefits. Dispute resolution is expedited, freeing up hundreds of millions of dollars that go straight to injured workers and their families. By cutting waste in the system, benefit increases were made possible while overall costs were reduced.
“Injured workers have suffered enough under Arnold Schwarzenegger’s draconian cutbacks to workers’ compensation. SB 863 puts more money in the pockets of injured workers while strengthening the system for years to come. Doing nothing is not an option. Under the current system, insurance costs are expected to rise by 18% in January. SB 863 is the right reform at a critical time.
“Opponents of SB 863, many of whom profit from the system, have engaged in a campaign of misinformation in an effort to protect the failed status quo. Not only are the reforms proposed in SB 863 necessary, they’re literally a lifeline for the system and the workers it benefits.
“SB 863 tackles the toughest challenges facing the workers’ compensation system head on, providing fresh hope to injured workers that have suffered for eight years under the failed reforms of the Schwarzenegger Administration. It’s time for real reform that puts injured workers first. We urge the legislature to pass SB 863 today, sending it to Gov. Brown for his signature.”