February 22, 2006

WORKERS' COMP: WV CHAMBER OF COMMERCE VS THE WIDOWS

An email alert from the state Chamber of Commerce supports cutting off benefits for widows and widowers of workers killed on the job or from job related illnesses, the Charleston Gazette reported today. According to the email, “Workers’ Compensation is designed to be a wage-replacement system for covered employees who may be injured in the workplace or while working. It is not designed to be a life insurance program.”

An interesting point. But then workplaces were designed to be places where work is done and for which workers get paid. They are not designed to be places where workers get killed—yet around 15 workers in the U.S. die from job related injuries or illnesses every day. That’s nearly 6,000 people a year according to the report: Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect (AFL-CIO, 2005).

A GOOFUS AND GALLANT MOMENT

Still, this may be a teachable moment for the empathetically challenged. With profound apologies to the magazine Highlights for Children, I’m going to borrow a little from those “Goofus and Gallant” cartoons I used to read as a child. Here goes:

GOOFUS AND GALLANT STORY ADVENTURE

Mrs. Smith’s husband died in a coal mine accident 12 years ago. Although she was promised benefits for life or until she remarried, the state cut them off this month because this is the age her husband would have retired had he lived.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

CHOOSE

Goofus says: “Who cares about widows? Cut em off!”

Gallant says: “It’s not nice to break faith with the families of workers killed on the job. Let’s fix this problem.”

Here's hoping West Virginia follows Gallant's lead.

GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: THROUGH THE ROOF

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

if it weren't for all the BEARS in Canada.....

Hoyt said...

This matter should have made the news when this practice started--which was long before the mining tragedies this year. Thanks for noting this and, of course, the most excellent reference of Goofus and Gallant--my favorite Highlights comic!