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Letter: Put working people before insurance company profits

Put working people before insurance company profits

In Heather Briccetti’s July 24 Viewpoints article, “State must do more to improve its business climate,” she calls for an open dialogue and rational discussion. That sounds good, but let’s look at the facts.

Briccetti and the Business Council demonize the labor movement because we fight to protect workers.

Workers have the right to a safe workplace and a right to wage replacement and quality care should an injury occur. The current workers’ compensation system falls short here.

The Scaffold Safety Law is intended to stop preventable workplace injury and death merely by requiring contractors and project owners to ensure necessary safety equipment is provided and utilized.

And, we’ve seen what the Business Council has in mind under the guise of reforming the workers’ compensation system – further cutting worker benefits and further limiting access to care.

The Business Council’s agenda is tired and stale and as a result has been rejected repeatedly by the Legislature and stakeholders.

We should approach improving the business climate a different way, by examining insurers’ practices, spending and profits. Let’s first see how insurers set rates before we rush to cut benefits for injured workers or gut important safety laws.

Obviously, we think undermining worker protections is not the way to improve the business climate.

Let’s have an open dialogue and rational discussion, but one that puts working people before insurance company profits.

Mario Cilento

President

New York State AFL-CIO

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