Here are some questions our governor and his legislature need to answer about their proposed workers’ compensation changes:
- Do you intend to establish a monopolistic workers’ compensation program for Tennessee like the ones in Ohio, North Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming? Having a “workers’ compensation czar” who decides every issue of injured employee treatment will make Tennessee much less attractive to major workers’ compensation insurance companies.
- For-profit workers’ compensation insurers have been treating repetitive motion claims as work related, as defined by OSHA, for some 20 years. Do you intend to make them stop? How else do you plan to interfere with the insurance business?
- Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers have the obligation to provide a safe and healthy workplace and the duty not to discriminate against employees who exercise their rights under this act. Your new plan gives employers every incentive to break this law. Are you planning to intimidate employees who complain?
- If a worker suffers a cut hand on the job and comes back to work the next day, you propose to cut his pay by a third. For how long would this pay cut continue? This sounds like a GREAT way for employers to cut expenses.
- Do you believe, as the 1970 Congress did, that people are the country’s greatest natural resource? If so, why do you encourage employers to fire injured employees and replace them with younger or healthier workers?
- What resources do you plan to establish for “throw-away” workers? How will they pay their medical bills? How will they feed their families? How many will wind up disabled and homeless?
Tennesseans need answers to these questions, Governor Haslam.