The only way most of you would even know anything about this is if you were approached by a signature-gatherer to sign an initiative petition for something called I-1082 to get on the November ballot. Some of you may have already signed this if it was discussed by the signature-gatherer in conjunction with another ballot initiative, such as privatization of liquor sales in Washington. You have probably heard some of the meaningless jargon, such as “allow private insurance to ‘compete’ in the workers’ compensation system.”
But, here we are, now faced with a measure that is calculated essentially to destroy one of the best workers’ compensation systems in the country. Sure, many of you may have had, or are still having, a contentious experience with the Department of Labor & Industries, or a self-insured employer, over a workers’ comp claim. If there weren’t a lot of problem claims in the system, our firm wouldn’t be in the business of representing injured workers. But compared with most other state workers’ comp systems, nearly all of which have, over the years, allowed private insurance to come in, Washington provides better benefits at a lower cost. That will surely end over time if I-1082 becomes law.
Please go to the following sites for general background information about what is at stake in this initiative fight:
Big insurance company conglomerates like Liberty Mutual and AIG will be pouring millions of dollars into this campaign to get a piece of our state’s industrial insurance business, and will be aided by the Building Industry Association of Washington, the most aggressively anti-workers’ comp organization in the state. Around Labor Day expect to begin seeing a barrage of ads supporting the initiative. We will be responding as best we can to the misiniformation we expect to see in that advertising campaign, so check back to this blog site from time to time.