March, 2012 News


Workers Comp 3.30

Dirk Stemerman, On the Job: Retraining funding hit hard  For those seeking vocational retraining, the California Department of Rehabilitation is a logical first stop. The DOR administers the largest vocational rehabilitation program in the country. Unfortunately, its annual budget for job retraining is about the same as it was in 2007 when far fewer people needed services.

ACIC Says Changes to California's Workers' Compensation Must be Balanced with Tangible Savings The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America issued the following news release: Today, the California Senate Industrial Relations Committee held a joint hearing with the Assembly Insurance Committee to examine California's permanent disability ratings process and consider potential changes.

Worker severely hurt in fall into rock crusher A construction worker has fallen into a rock crusher at a Southern California building project. Orange County fire Capt. Marc Stone says the worker fell onto a conveyer belt and he was pulled into the crusher on Wednesday afternoon.

California workers rank high in union membership Unions remain an integral part of California’s labor force, but they aren’t as strong as they once were.


State News 3.30

Brown's administration wants health care change, with or without federal law  Gov. Jerry Brown's administration vowed Thursday to continue pushing forward elements of the federal health care overhaul in California, even if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes it down.

Walters: Lawmakers yearning for disdain  Poll after poll has confirmed that California voters hold their Legislature in contempt.


Workers Comp 3.29

Dan Walters Daily: Let the work comp war commence VIDEO: Dan talks about the upcoming legislative war over workers' compensation in California.

GOP's Linda Halderman and Democrat push guest worker bill  A Fresno Republican has joined forces with a Coachella Democrat to push legislation aimed at granting worker permits for undocumented immigrants who have been living for years in California.

Hearing portends battle over California workers compensation A lengthy hearing in the California Assembly on Wednesday indicated that one of the Capitol's longest-running political wars is being reignited

Workers' Compensation Medical Prices Were Higher and Grew  The prices paid for medical professional services for injured workers were higher and rising faster in states without fee schedules compared with states that have them in place, according to a new study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), Medical Price Index for Workers' Compensation, Fourth Edition (MPI-WC).

Boost permanent disability benefits but cut costs: Calif. employers, insurers Revamping California's workers compensation system likely will land on the state's legislative agenda this year as cost pressures mount and labor advocates seek increases in permanent disability benefits, speakers told a legislative hearing.

Grocery Workers to Converge in Pleasanton to Support Contract Fight Over Good Jobs and Health Care Grocery and department store workers from across Northern California will converge on Pleasanton March 29 to rally in support of good jobs and affordable health care. Workers will meet at the Macy’s furniture store in the Rosewood shopping center on Santa Rita Rd. for a rally.

Curbing independent contractors hurts Calif., study says California's increasing restrictions on independent contractors will slow economic growth and hike the state's unemployment, according to a new analysis for several business groups.


State News 3.29

Skelton: The better tax plan  Molly Munger's competing initiative makes more public policy sense than Jerry Brown's, but less political sense, and dueling measures may turn voters off.

If mandate goes, does the rest of federal reform also fall?  The health reform law passed by a Democratic Congress and President Obama two years ago appeared to be in more jeopardy than ever today after the last of three days of hearings at the US Supreme Court.


Workers Comp 3.28

AM Alert: National Guard ceremony on Jerry Brown's agenda  Meanwhile, there's no shortage of committee meetings under the dome, with a joint Senate-Assembly hearing considering the impact of a 2004 law on workers compensation disability benefits for permanently injured workers.

Opinion: Injured workers benefit most from recovery Today, legislative committees from the Assembly and Senate convene for a joint hearing on the issue of workers’ compensation. Specifically, the hearing is noticed as “A Discussion on the Impacts of S.B. 899 on Permanent Disability Benefits.”

What’s Wrong With Workers’ Comp In America Three words: Money, Power & Politics. Why do they even call it Workers’ Compensation? It’s certainly not about workers, it’s about insurance companies and their financial bottom lines, and the last thing in the world it does is adequately compensate workers for their occupational injuries which in many cases are due to the negligent actions and behavior of their employers. But hey, they have a “Get Out Of Jail FREE” card called the “Exclusive Remedy!"

Calif. workers compensation rates up 4% in last half of 2011 California insurers filed workers compensation manual rates that rose 4% on average during the last six months of 2011, according to information released Tuesday by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California.

United Farm Workers Union Backs Heat Relief Bill Before California Legislature The United Farm Workers union gave its support Monday to a bill in the California state legislature that would empower workers to enforce compliance with a law protecting them from excess heat on the job.


State News 3.28

LEGISLATORS' VOTING RECORDS How often has a California legislator broken party ranks, abstained or switched sides? The Sacramento Bee has a database of the voting records of every member of the state Senate and Assembly.

Walters: Legislative mischief on 'trailer bills' becomes easier  Two years ago, when unions and Democratic politicians sponsored a ballot measure to reduce the required legislative vote on the state budget from two-thirds to a simple majority, this column and others raised the possibility of ancillary mischief.


Workers Comp 3.27

100,000-member Union Coalition 'Strikes' at Major Health Care Foes: Obesity, Chronic Disease Whoever thinks that labor unions are stuck in the past clearly isn’t following the trajectory of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions. Our Coalition, which represents close to 100,000 workers at Kaiser Permanente medical centers, launched a new campaign this week that targets not a health care employer but a different type of foe: obesity and chronic disease.

Cesar Chavez and farm workers get respect from U.S. Labor Department In another tribute to Cesar E. Chavez and the farm workers movement, the U.S. Labor Department on Monday named the auditorium at its Washington headquarters after the legendary California labor organizer.  

United Farm Workers Union Supports Bill to Enforce Water & Shade Standards The United Farm Workers union gave its support Monday to a bill in the California state legislature that would empower workers to enforce compliance with a law protecting them from excess heat on the job.


State News 3.27

California legislative Democrats balk at Jerry Brown's budget cuts  In a show of good faith one year ago, legislative Democrats slashed Medi-Cal, cut universities and reduced welfare grants to slice the state deficit 13 weeks before the constitutional deadline.

Walters: Tax increase plans will hinge on schools  Gov. Jerry Brown's hopes of enacting a multibillion-dollar tax increase received a big boost over the weekend from a poll showing that his revised tax plan is favored by nearly two-thirds of voters, having picked up strong support from independents


Workers Comp 3.26

Raley's opens worker hotline on labor talks Raley's, in an unprecedented move, has opened a hotline to answer workers' questions about the protracted Northern California labor negotiations.

Central Valley, Merced area workers back hot weather bill As the farming season begins, workers and labor advocates could have a new tool for exposing abusive business practices. Farmworker advocates are pushing for a new law, saying the state continues to fall short on promises to enforce heat-safety requirements.

The GOP’s Assault on Labor Rights: What is Happening in the States? The past 15 months have seen a remarkable assault by the GOP on federal labor rights.

California Farmers Feel Pain  Sharp cutbacks in water for farmers threaten to trigger renewed layoffs in a large swath of California, eating into the state's $40 billion-a-year agriculture industry and damping its nascent economic recovery.


State News 3.26

Strong majority backs Jerry Brown's tax-hike initiative  Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they supported the measure that the governor hopes to place on the November ballot. It would hike the sales tax and levies on upper incomes to help raise money for schools and balance the state's budget.

Walters: Big pension conflicts ahead in California  California's great public pension battles are heating up, and may be headed for some kind of political explosion.

California jobless rate holds steady as more people seek work California is adding more high-paying jobs in affluent coastal areas, but the government and construction sectors remain big drags on the economy as communities inland continue to struggle.


Workers Comp 3.23

The Law Offices of Hinden & Breslavsky have defended the rights and dignity of injured and disabled workers for 38 years.  The Law Offices of Hinden & Breslavsky have defended the rights and dignity of injured and disabled workers for 38 years.

Employer still liable despite theft of workers compensation check An employer whose $17,000 check was stolen and forged still must pay the workers compensation claimant who never received the settlement, a California appellate court has ruled.

San Francisco bakery under fire for failing to pay workers John Campbell’s Irish Bakery, which downsized from three locations to one, was the target of complaints by 12 ex-workers.

Workers at L.A. pot dispensaries form labor union  With the fate of the city's medical marijuana industry in question, workers at more than a dozen Los Angeles pot shops have formed a labor union in part to help ward off a proposed citywide ban on dispensaries.

Cal/OSHA Issues Citations to Community Recycling & Resource Recovery Totaling $166,890 Following Two Worker Deaths Cal/OSHA today issued sixteen citations totaling $166,890 against Lamont-based composting facility Community Recycling and Resource Recovery. The citations were issued as the result of an investigation triggered by the Oct. 12, 2011 deaths of two brothers


State News 3.23

Podcast: The Road Ahead  As the great Yogi Berra once said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." There are some forks in the road ahead for Governor Jerry Brown and his backers of a budget balanced, in part, with a new temporary tax increase.

Walters: Lawmakers ready to green-light California high-speed rail  Its popularity has declined sharply, many of its details have yet to emerge, and independent authorities have questioned its financial and operational viability, but California's bullet train project is very likely to get the green light from the Legislat


Workers Comp 3.22

LA Walmart Employee, Girshriela Green, Tells Her Story Of Poverty And Injury  Girshriela Green was unemployed and on welfare when she got a job at Walmart in Crenshaw, Calif. When she started as a part-time sales floor associate, Green told The Huffington Post, she thought the job would be a career opportunity and was optimistic about her future. Her goal was to get off of welfare and be able to support her three daughters on her own.

Metropolitan State Hospital Employees Rally for More Safety, No Staff Cuts Dozens of Metropolitan State Hospital employees chanted and waved picket signs in front of the hospital today, drawing attention to ongoing assaults and staffing concerns at their facility and others overseen by the California Department of Mental Health.


State News 3.22

Walters: Big Voting Change In California Communities Is A Big Risk  A decade-old California law and 2010 census data are having a potentially explosive effect on how governing boards of local governments, especially cities, are elected.


Workers Comp 3.21

NFL and Falcons Sue Former Players Over Workers' Comp The National Football League and the Atlanta Falcons are suing nine former Falcons players to force them to litigate workers' compensation cases in Georgia rather than in California, where dozens of current and former NFL players have sought compensation for injuries sustained from playing football.

Severe work injury case ends favorably for brain injury victim When someone chooses to work construction there is going to be some risk involved, especially when the person is working up on scaffolding. However, employers are still expected to do everything in their power to keep their employee safe, which is why workers' compensation policies are so important.


State News 3.21

California Unions To Push Jobs Plan  The California Labor Federation will unveil on Tuesday a series of proposals to promote job growth in the state, a plan that union officials said will be the centerpiece of its lobbying and political efforts this year.

California Labor Launches “Invest in California” Jobs Plan for the 99% California was built with a vision that prioritized investments in our future. From creating a world-class infrastructure to seeding innovation through our schools and universities, investments fueled the economic miracle that once was our state. But as those investments dried up in recent years, we’ve risked tearing the very fabric of California.

Brown Reaches Out To Rival Tax Proponent  It looks like Molly Munger has finally gotten the attention of Gov. Jerry Brown. Munger, a Pasadena attorney, is backing a measure for the November ballot rivaling the governor’s tax plan.

California Activists Clash Over Term Limits Measure On June Ballot  A ballot measure to change term limits for California legislators was defended Tuesday by supporters as necessary to blunt the influence of lobbyists, but was attacked by an opponent as a "sham" meant to trick voters and help politicians.


Workers Comp 3.19

California's chief workers' comp regulator shares ideas, solutions Christine Baker, who was appointed the director of the California Department of Industrial Relations, discusses issues within the system.

Inland Empire workers file 2nd lawsuit against Mira Loma Walmart distribution center Warehouse workers from the Inland Empire have filed a second class action federal lawsuit against a big Walmart distribution center in Mira Loma.


State News 3.19

Skelton: California's Right Is Left Aside The recent deal to combine two competing tax-hike initiatives was cut between the left and far left.


Workers Comp 3.16

Record $8.9 Million Workers' Comp Recovery in California  A former painter who suffered psychotic episodes and multiple personality disorder after falling 20 feet from a scaffold on a job site in Santa Monica, Calif., has settled his workers' compensation claim for $8.9 million—among the largest such settlements in California.

WCIRB Report: Premium Grew But Claim Severity Continues to Rise An annual report from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California shows that for the second consecutive year statewide workers’ compensation premiums levels rose in 2011, but that continually growing costs of claims has eroded statewide underwriting results.

Obese Workers' Body Mass Data Aids Treatment Despite the fact that one in three U.S. adults is obese, claims adjusters often do not ask claimants about their height and weight during the initial intake process of a workers' comp claim, employers and consultants say.

Warehouse Workers In California Claim They Were Shorted On Pay  Warehouse workers in Southern California filed a lawsuit in federal court on Thursday alleging labor law violations against a Walmart contractor, the latest in a string of complaints lodged by workers in major U.S. distribution hubs.


DOMESTIC WORKERS DESERVE BASIC WORKPLACE RIGHTS Every morning, nearly 200,000 workers in California report for work at individuals’ homes. These workers, largely immigrant women of color, are entrusted with the tremendously important and often difficult work of caring for young children, the elderly and the disabled.


State News 3.16

Record $8.9 Million Workers' Comp Recovery in California  A former painter who suffered psychotic episodes and multiple personality disorder after falling 20 feet from a scaffold on a job site in Santa Monica, Calif., has settled his workers' compensation claim for $8.9 million—among the largest such settlements in California.


Workers Comp 3.15

Cash-strapped California city gears up for battle with unions over pension reform Facing an ocean of debt, San Diego is offering voters in June a potential lifeboat: public employee pension reform. “Taxpayers have had it,” former Mayor Roger Hedgecock said. “A huge portion of the city budget is going to fund these pensions far beyond anything in private sector.”

Higher claim severity drives uptick in California workers comp losses California workers compensation losses have increased slightly in the past couple of years, driven in part by higher claim severity, according to the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California.


State News 3.15

Brown Takes Tougher Tack On Wealthy In a deal with a union on his ballot initiative, the governor pares the sales-tax provision and hikes rates on the rich.

Jerry Brown changes his tax plan. , Brown teachers union negotiating deal rewrite November tax , Gov. Brown, millionaires-tax backers join forces


Cash-strapped California city gears up for battle with unions over pension reform Facing an ocean of debt, San Diego is offering voters in June a potential lifeboat: public employee pension reform. “Taxpayers have had it,” former Mayor Roger Hedgecock said. “A huge portion of the city budget is going to fund these pensions far beyond anything in private sector.”


Workers Comp 3.14

California gets complacent about business climate In its most recent annual ranking of "business friendly" states, Forbes magazine had some blunt advice for investors: "Utah and Colorado have maintained strong business climates. Forget about California."


Liberty Mutual ‘Disappointed’ at $450M AIG Workers’ Comp Settlement Liberty Mutual said it will continue its legal fight even after a federal judge formally approved a $450 million workers’ compensation class-action settlement between AIG and its rival companies.


State News 3.14

Herdt: In polarized politics, is there room on the equator?  If you follow politics much, chances are that in the partisan struggle between Democrats and Republicans in Congress, you've pretty much picked a side.


Workers Comp 3.13


California workers' compensation costs rose slightly in 2011 California employers' costs of providing workers' compensation insurance rose slightly in 2011, but are scarcely half of what they were before then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature enacted a major overhaul of the system in 2004.


Report: Increasing Workers' Comp Losses For California Public Self  Insurance Journal - 16 hours ago -- The analysis was conducted by the California Workers' Compensation Institute, which compiled data from the California Office of Self-Insurance Plans (OSIP), ...


Higher claim severity drives uptick in California workers comp losses Business Insurance - 11 minutes ago - SAN FRANCISCO—California workers compensation losses have increased slightly in the past couple of years, driven in part by higher claim severity, …


Guard, wife in San Francisco sex shooting convicted of attempted ... Sacramento Bee - 9 hours ago - ... and his wife were convicted Monday of attempted perjury in a workers' comp case ... unit of the California Department of Corrections and



Workers Comp 3.12

Rooting out fraud helps the budget‎ Insurance experts have divided workers' compensation fraud is divided into ... Some states, such as California, have started putting measures in place to ...


Workers Comp 3.9

Occupational Health News Roundup Ergonomics and the impact on workers' compensation claims not only is found ... California Watch: The deaths of Armando Ramirez and his brother Heladio from ...


REINER v. KEGEL, TOBIN & TRUCE ... his defamation and fraud complaint under California's anti-SLAPP statute. ... 2 After the workers' compensation judge permitted Kashani to be heard in ...


California Court of Appeal Finds Possible Liability Under Privette ... The Court noted that California's workers compensation system protected the subcontractor's employee from the risk of the subcontractor's insolvency;


Workers Comp 3.8


Oregon trying to lure California food firms This week, a delegation headed to Anaheim for the California Natural Foods ... Lower costs for power and workers' compensation, and the diversity of local ...


Workers' comp fraud case based on sex-club shooting goes to jury By Andy Furillo Jurors began deliberations Wednesday in the workers' comp fraud conspiracy case against a state correctional officer and his wife over his …


Workers Comp 3.7

Government worker files suit against AFSCME Alameda County East Bay Municipal Utility District employee James C. Hankins filed the lawsuit March 6 in the US District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco. Hankins resigned from the American Federation of State, County, ...


Visiting California for the Workers' Comp – Part 1 of 3 « wcdefenseca California workers' compensation does not often get attention from the world at large. Most people work, some people get injured, and the lawyers usually fight it ...


Highest Known Workers' Compensation Settlement in California ... Highest Known Workers' Compensation Settlement in California History - Los Angeles Attorney Scores Record $Attorney Christopher Asvar (www.asvarlaw.


Highest Known Workers' Compensation Settlement in California ... "This settlement is the highest anyone is aware of for a California workers' compensation award," stated Steve Chapman, a well-known structured settlement ...


Workers Comp surgery costs vary among states In the WCRI study “Hospital Outpatient Cost Index for Workers Compensation,” researchers compiled data from 17 states that represent 60 percent of the workers' compensation benefits paid in the US: California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, ...


New Website Helps Workers Enforce Workers' Compensation Law On Thursday, March 1st, an exciting new website launched to allow California workers access to their employer’s workers compensation coverage status. With this website, any employee can now verify whether or not their employer carries valid workers compensation coverage—information that not only keeps workers safe but helps the public and regulators crack down on the underground economy.


Government worker files suit against AFSCME Alameda County East Bay Municipal Utility District employee James C. Hankins filed the lawsuit March 6 in the US District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco. Hankins resigned from the American Federation of State, County, ...


State News 3.7

Walters: This Year's California State Budget Could Be Bizarre Exercise --  Political machinations over the state budget dominate every legislative session, but this year's version of the annual budget game may be particularly bizarre due to a confluence of unusual factors, to wit: DAN WALTERS in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/7/12


Morain: Revenue Down And Lawmakers Seek Tax Breaks?  Some Democratic legislators evidently haven't gotten the word. DAN MORAIN in the Sacramento Bee -- 3/7/12




Idaho Republicans step up assault on women, families

Idaho Press-Tribune - 9 hours ago

... percent of women in America will use contraceptives sometime in their life. ... of the patient and the decisions of family members for end-of-life care.




Conservatives use Catholic Church to advance their cause

Lansing State Journal - 7 hours ago

The controversy between the Catholic Church and our nation's healthcare plan (regarding offering contraceptives toCatholic employees) causes me to conclude ...





U-T San Diego - 20 hours ago

A: The “what if” started 10 years ago when I was on a plane next to a neurologist who deals with end-of-life care. He was telling me about situations he had ...




Massachusetts: Legislature to Hear Bill for Assisted Suicide - 22 hours ago

In December, the Massachusetts Medical Society voted 178 to 56 to retain the ... of the Holy Cross for Catholic physicians and medical students: “Physician ...


Beverly Hospital to host talk on end-of-life decision making

Wicked Local - 8 hours ago

Attorney Stephen J. Spano will provide an overview of Massachusetts law regarding end-of-life care decisions. The workshop will review strategies to obtain ...


Massachusetts: Legislature to Hear Bill for Assisted Suicide - 21 hours ago

The Massachusetts Family Institute is also against the measure and says, “Physician Assisted Suicide is nothing more that doctor prescribed death.


Workers Comp 3.5

Workers, state investigators allege labor abuses in warehouse empire  A suit filed in federal court in Los Angeles on behalf of Soto and dozens of other warehouse workers charges three companies that handle Walmart goods with fraudulent pay practices.


Warehouse workers say abuses are systemic  As a warehouse worker in the Inland Empire region of Southern California, the nation’s biggest distribution hub for consumer goods, Jorge Soto handles shipments for retail giant Walmart every day.


California Considering Overtime, Other Wage Benefits for Nannies Domestic workers want more benefits, including overtime wages. California and several other states are listening. New York implemented overtime and time-off requirements in 2010.


State News 3.5

State government contracting debate back at California's Capitol  The debate over whether government runs best with civil service workers or privately contracted help is re-igniting in the Capitol over legislation that, among other things, would give state workers first dibs whenever the state has work to do.


California Capitol needs to close some tax loopholes  About a quarter-century ago, the Legislature declared that custom computer software programs would be exempt from sales taxes.


Workers Comp 3.2

Kaiser workers take symbolic steps to begin bargaining  Thousands of Kaiser workers will launch collective bargaining with Kaiser Permanente  Kaiser Permanente Latest from The Business Journals Follow this company today by stepping outside during their lunch breaks to walk five million steps together.


State News 3.2

Walters: Both left and right in California want automatons in office  The California Republican Party has been frequently – and rightfully – criticized for insisting that GOP politicians adhere to a very narrow set of supposed principles, such as always opposing any purported tax increase regardless of its merits.


Workers Comp 3.1

Highest Known Workers' Compensation Settlement in California History  L.A. Attorney Scores Record $8.9 Million Settlement, Rebuking System in Major Brain Injury Case. PRWeb March 01, 2012 - Los Angeles-based attorney Christopher Asvar ( has just secured the highest known workers' compensation insurance settlement in California history, totaling $8.9 million on behalf of his young client who suffered a workplace traumatic brain injury.


Calif. seeks to force Zurich units to get workers comp agreements reviewed SACRAMENTO—California's Department of Insurance is seeking to force units of Zurich Financial Services Ltd. to cease issuing workers compensation “large-deductible agreements” that have not been properly reviewed.


Investigative Unit to Target California’s Serial Labor Law Violators California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su’s aim is to send a message to the state’s underground economy. The message is that the principals of companies with shady employment practices, such as those who try to cut costs by under-reporting employees or employee wages to save on workers’ compensation premiums, may face jail time.


Company's failure to have spotter for excavator boosts worker's benefits  In California, a construction company's failure to provide a spotter to help direct the movement of construction equipment may amount to serious and willful misconduct that will entitle an injured worker to increased benefits.


Kaiser Workers to Walk to Launch Contract Talks  Thousands of Kaiser Permanente workers will walk during their lunch break today to launch contract bargaining.


Labor Law and Security Experts Testify About Workers' Rights Violations at Loomis UNI Swedish Commission of Inquiry Holds Three Hearings in U.S. Legal and security experts testified about workers' rights violations by Loomis, an armored car guard company, before a public hearing at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.


State News 3.1

Brown steps up efforts to squelch competing tax hike proposals  On a recent evening, a dark sedan glided to the curb at a two-story Craftsman off Crenshaw Boulevard near the Santa Monica Freeway. It carried Gov. Jerry Brown and his top aide, fresh off a day of squiring the vice president of China around Los Angeles.


California Cities Hit the Wall  Confronted by declining tax revenue and rising employee costs, Stockton, Calif., is considering bankruptcy—while several other struggling California cities warn they could eventually face the same predicament.



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