June 2012 News


Workers Comp 6.25

California commissioner approves scaled-down rate hike proposal California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has approved an increase in ... the $2.51 proposed by the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau.

California Labor Code Pursuant to the procedures set forth in Part 4 of Division 4, California workers' compensation disputes are heard before the Workers Compensation Appeals ...

COMMENTARY: Medical provider network decision a blow to work ... A California appellate court dealt a significant blow last week to a practice employers have come to rely on to control rising workers compensation medical

Workers Comp 6.22

California State Fund Files First-Ever Tiered Rating Plan, Zero Net Increase In Overall Rates State Compensation Insurance Fund recently announced its first-ever tiered rating plan has been filed with the California Department of Insurance. The plan will apply to policies renewing or incepting on or after September 1, 2012.

D.A. Gets Grant to Fight Workers' Comp Fraud  State awards $3.6 million to O.C. as part of a $32-million program to combat insurance fraud. The California Department of Insurance announced $3.6 million in grant money today to help the Orange County District Attorney's office investigate and prosecute workers' compensation insurance fraud.

Central Valley gets $4.4 Million to fight workers comp fraud  A total of $32 million is being sent to counties around California to help pay for the prosecution of workers compensation insurance fraud.Counties in the Central Valley are getting $4,423,160 of that.

Union Will Change Dues System After Court Ruling California's largest public employee union, the SEIU, says it will change its dues collection system after a 7-2 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court released Thursday. The case involves a special dues hike to lobby against a pair of state ballot measures.

Union Walks Away From Talks Leaving Officers' Jobs in Jeopardy     The Sacramento Police Officers Association has called off talks with the City. By walking away from talks, the SPOA risks losing 47 positions -16 of which are staffed by full-time officers.  The City has asked for benefits concessions in exchange for retaining those jobs.


State News 6.22

California's budget deal cuts welfare, health care  California will close its projected $15.7 billion budget deficit by restructuring the state's welfare program, streamlining health insurance for low-income children, and reducing child care coverage and college aid, as part of a deal Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders announced Thursday.

Budget deal struck, compromises abound  We've all too often resorted to observations that a state budget deal in California is a an agreement no one exactly likes -- and so such a quip should be avoided in the deal rolled out Thursday afternoon. And yet...

Dan Walters Daily: 'Let's get ready to rumble' on tax measures Dan Walters says the November ballot battle over rival tax measures from Gov. Jerry Brown and civil rights attorney Molly Munger may show whether voters are interested in helping California schools.


Workers Comp 6.21

Drug testing to monitor opioid use could open comp system up to liabilities  Drug testing workers' comp claimants as a way to monitor and control the use of opioids is on the rise. However, a new report raises questions about drug testing's effectiveness and costs, possibly warranting new rules and regulations.

State Fund Files First-Ever Tiered Rating Plan, Zero Net Increase in Overall Rates State Compensation Insurance Fund today announced its first-ever tiered rating plan has been filed with the California Department of Insurance. The plan will apply to policies renewing or incepting on or after September 1, 2012.

Employee crushed by bulldozer at recycling plant An employee has been crushed to death by a bulldozer at a recycling plant in the San Francisco Bay Area. The San Francisco Chronicle ( http://bit.ly/KMkb0b) says 66-year-old Evangelina Macias was directing traffic at the Waste Management Inc. plant in San Leandro Monday afternoon when the bulldozer ran over her legs and hips. She died at a hospital.


State News 6.21

Jerry Brown abandons bid to protect high-speed rail from environmental law  The Brown administration is abandoning legislation it proposed to insulate California's high-speed rail project from environmental lawsuits, the administration told environmentalists on Wednesday.

Jerry Brown and Democrats close to deal on welfare budget  Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative Democrats are nearing a deal on welfare-to-work cuts that would reduce how long families can receive full aid and child care, but provide exemptions such as one for people in areas with high unemployment.

Jerry Brown's proposal and two other tax measures qualify for November ballot  As Democratic state leaders continue budget negotiations, Gov. Jerry Brown's tax hike on sales and upper-income earners officially qualified Wednesday for the November ballot, as did two other tax measures.

Skelton: Where is Democrats' urgency on pension reform?  California voters won't approve a tax increase to avoid deep education cuts unless the state has enacted serious benefit reform. So why does it look like legislators will delay the issue until after summer recess?


Workers Comp 6.20

Challenge to pension reform moves forward  Labor unions have scored two separate legal victories in the past week in their push to invalidate San Diego’s pension reform initiative, which voters overwhelmingly approved earlier this month.

CA hospitals collect duplicate payments for spinal surgeries California hospitals got paid twice, to the tune of $67.5 million in 2010, for spinal surgeries performed on workers' compensation patients. That's according to a new study from the California Workers' Compensation Institute.

California Dairymen Split on Fixing the Farm Bill During tough times, the farm bill allows the government to prop up dairy farmers by buying their milk. But the price the government pays hasn't really changed in three decades.  It's way below what it costs farmers to produce a gallon of milk.

Farmers in California Struggling to Find Workers To Help With Crops In California, the unemployment rate is around 15 percent, yet there’s plenty of work. The only problem is no one wants do it.

Dan Walters Daily: 'Two blows for open government' Dan Walters says California police unions and law enforcement groups usually get what they want in Sacramento -- but not this time.

State Bar says let illegal immigrant practice law  An illegal immigrant who passes the bar exam and demonstrates good moral character should be eligible to practice law, the State Bar has declared in a court filing.

Reprieve means more new workers in California Fiona Cruz, 24, takes a lunch break during a summer class she is taking the School of Unity and Liberation, in Oakland. Cruz earned a bachelor s degree in biotechnology from UC Davis but she s been unable to work in her chosen field because she is here illegally.


State News 6.20

State budget is still pending  Democratic lawmakers say they balanced California's budget and passed it on time for the second year in a row - an achievement they say will begin to restore public confidence in the state Legislature. But is the budget really done?


Workers Comp 6.19


California hospitals collect duplicate payments for spinal surgeries  California hospitals got paid twice, to the tune of $67.5 million in 2010, for spinal surgeries performed on workers’ compensation patients. That's according to a new study from the California Workers' Compensation Institute.

Immigration reprieve means thousands of new workers in California  As thousands of young illegal immigrants consider openly applying for work permits under a new Obama administration directive, they dream of jobs they could never find in the shadows.

Union warns of possible Dignity Health strike  A union that represents 3,500 workers at local Mercy hospitals has called a three-day strike next week if there’s not substantial progress at the bargaining table.

State News 6.19

California Dems resist Gov. Brown's welfare plans  California legislators may have passed a budget, but Democratic leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown are fighting to a standoff over his proposal to restructure the state's welfare program.

Darrell Steinberg defends CA budget, aims for completion this week  Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, defended the Legislature's deadline passage of a main budget bill Friday without most of the implementing language, responding to critics who suggested lawmakers had rushed through a plan to maintain their pay.

Walters: California now has a half-budget  So does California have a new state budget, or not? It has about a half-a-budget, or perhaps more accurately, a half-baked budget.


Workers Comp 6.18

Workers' Comp Insurers Unhappy With Cost of Prescription Painkillers For years, workers' compensation insurers have encouraged doctors to prescribe opiods for occupational injuries. Now, research and growing costs are leading to a reversal of policy for many insurers.

Farm bill splits produce growers, food activists  Five years ago, California farmers were a powerful ally of the new food movement's crusade to get Washington to stop subsidizing corn and start promoting the fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts that are the mainstay of the state's huge farm sector.

Morain: Is nurses union a health hazard?  The California Nurses Association can place its record of campaign wins against any of the other big-time players on the left. But watching its lobbyists work the Capitol halls, I'm left to wonder which side they're on.


State News 6.18

Campaign to defeat Jerry Brown's tax measure gears up  One morning last week, as Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature huddled over the state budget at the Capitol, the effort to undo a central part of Brown's spending plan began to take shape in an office building just a few blocks away.

Walters: California and North Dakota are a study in contrasts  Much is made in the media about California's economic, cultural and political competition with Texas, but it's really a sibling rivalry.

Skelton: Debating California's new top-two vote-getter system  When one candidate in a primary wins a clear majority, does it makes sense for that person to have to run again in November?

State budget includes cuts, but isn't shrinking  Throughout the drawn-out budget debate, the message from the Democrats who control the statehouse has been that they are reluctantly making deep cuts in core public services. The $91.4 billion general fund passed with relative ease on Friday is not shrinking, though. That figure is 5.6 percent larger than the previous year’s budget.

Walters: California's pension tale told in four cities  As votes in California's primary were being counted on June 5, Stockton's City Council was giving its city manager permission to file for bankruptcy protection if negotiations with creditors failed to bear fruit.


Workers Comp 6.15

California DWC's TTD Rates For 2013 Announced The minimum and maximum temporary total disability (TTD) rates for 2013 will increase on Jan. 1, 2013. The minimum TTD rate will increase to $160.00 and the maximum TTD rate will increase to $1,066.72 per week.

STATE: Comp racket  Workers’ compensation in California is expensive enough without the system paying twice for the same treatment. The Assembly should approve a bill that would end duplicative payments for some types of spinal surgery on injured workers.

California lawyers fight back on 'job killer' label with study  Each year, the California Chamber of Commerce chooses a few dozen bills it and other business groups oppose and labels them as "job killers" for imposing new regulations, business costs or taxes.

Work release bill OKed over MADD objections  Offenders who are sentenced to jail could get credit toward a work release program if they participate in educational, vocational, drug treatment and other programs under a bill approved by the California Senate.

Farm labor contractor sued in California A farmworker advocacy group is suing a California labor contractor, saying the company required workers to pick bell peppers at breakneck speed in triple-digit heat.

Injured 'Green Lantern' Worker Wins Round in Warner Bros. Lawsuit (Exclusive) A special effects worker was hurt when a stunt went wrong. There's more than one reason why Warner Bros. might wish to disown Green Lantern, last summer's superhero flop that cost $200 million and grossed just $218.9 million worldwide. One is the injuries suffered by special effects worker John Franco.


State News 6.15

California lawmakers race to pass a budget bill with little time to read it  The main budget bill coming before California lawmakers today is a 777-page piece of legislation that spells out how the state will spend billions of dollars over the next fiscal year.

Walters: New California budget looks a lot like old budgets  The Legislature's Democratic leaders insist that their new state budget is balanced, honest and contains an adequate reserve.


Workers Comp 6.14

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Issues Advisory Claims Cost Benchmark The California Department of Insurance issued the following news release: The advisory Workers' Compensation Claims Cost Benchmark measures the cost of workers' compensation claims and the expenses to adjust those claims over the next policy year for workers' compensation insurance and is an average of approximately 500 classification pure premium rates.

Why The Farm Bill's Provisions Will Matter To You If you think only farmers care about the farm bill currently being considered by Congress, you're very, very mistaken.

Calif. Panel OKs Workers' Comp Bill Despite Opposition A measure seeking to allow injured workers who have previously settled future medical care claims to collect attorneys' fees if they are successful in challenging an insurer's denial of treatment recommendations cleared a California panel on Wednesday, despite objections it would penalize law-abiding employers and trigger more suits.


State News 6.14

California Democrats ready to send Gov. Jerry Brown a budget that rejects $1 billion in cuts  Legislative Democrats are poised to send Gov. Jerry Brown a budget that avoids deep new cuts in safety-net programs while reducing state worker pay and taking funds from courts and counties.

'Tweaked' budget offer, but welfare fight remains  Calling it a plan "that has been tweaked a bit," legislative leaders say they think they're closer to a budget agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown, though there's no sign that Brown is willing to go along - especially on the issue of changes to the state's welfare assistance program.


Workers Comp 6.13

California Gov. Announces Appointments Sacramento, CA (WorkersCompensation.com) - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the following appointments. Ryan Brooks, 41, of San Francisco, has been appointed to the California State Board of Pharmacy, where he has served since 2008. Brooks has been the vice president of government relations at CBS Outdoor since 2002.

Navigating The Shifting Winds Of Workers’ Comp At 98th Annual Convention Madison, WI (WorkersCompensation.com) - Workers’ compensation, unlike many other social insurance programs, has remained under state or provincial authority in the United States and Canada. This allows the system to respond directly to stakeholder needs and local issues. However, jurisdictional authorities appreciate that sharing with peers can lead to effective solutions, while saving time and resources.

1-day strike for nurses at Bay Area hospitals  As many as 4,400 registered nurses at nine Bay Area hospitals operated by Sutter Health are set to walk off their jobs Wednesday as part of an ongoing labor dispute with the large Sacramento hospital chain.

Cal-OSHA Cites Employer Responsible for Worker Killed in Milpitas Excavation Collapse The California Department of Industrial Relations' (DIR) Division of Occupational Safety and Health, also known as Cal/OSHA, today issued fourteen citations totaling $168,175 to a Fremont-based construction and investment company, US-Sino Investments, Inc. The citations stemmed from Cal/OSHA's investigation into the death of Raul Zapata, a 37-year-old carpenter who was buried alive under a ten-to-twelve foot excavation wall at a Milpitas residential construction site on January 28. 

CRMBC Investigation Snags Another Workers' Compensation Fraud Suspect SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The California Restaurant Mutual Benefit Corporation (CRMBC) announced today that the Fontana Police Department has arrested Corrina Montenegro in connection to Workers' Compensation insurance fraud. 


State News 6.13

We're 99 percent in sync on budget, say Democrats  Legislative Democrats kept their budget train rolling down the track on Tuesday, even as Governor Jerry Brown issued a statement that casts some serious doubt on whether he'll ultimately jump on board with their alternative solutions.

Brown moves to eliminate retiree workers  As Friday's state budget deadline approaches, a little-noticed provision in Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal would cut off thousands of retirees who return to work for the state.

Walters: California school aid at center of wrangle over tax measures  California's 6 million-student public school system is not only the largest chunk of the state budget that will be enacted this week – by far – but the major component of Gov. Jerry Brown's campaign for sales and income tax increases as well.

Dianne Feinstein's War  California's senior senator has been fighting for Drakes Bay Oyster Company at Point Reyes National Seashore — and against the creation of the first marine wilderness on the West Coast.


Workers Comp 6.12

California Labor Commissioner Reaches Settlement of Over $875,000 for Unpaid Wages California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su announced a settlement today on a civil wage and penalty assessment issued by the Labor Commissioner against prime contractor Tadros & Youssef Construction in the Arcadia Unified School District.

CA DIR Partners With Watsonville Law Center To Provide Medical Services To Low-Wage Workers With Job Injuries The California Department of Industrial Relations and the Division of Workers’ Compensation  have teamed up with the Watsonville Law Center and U.C. Berkeley’s Labor Occupational Health Program to promote the new booklet, Providing Medical Services to Lo

Calif. Governor Brown Announces Appointments for June 11, 2012 Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the following appointments: First, Doug Bloch, 42, of Oakland, has been appointed to the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation. Bloch has been political director at Teamsters Joint Council 7

Unions: Our Last, Best and Final Hope File this under the We Couldn’t Have Said It Better Ourselves Department: Op-ed columnist Joe Nocera articulated on the very respectable pages of the New York Times what many of us have known for years: Unions are good for the economy.

California Insurance Bills Meet Deadline for Passage June 1, 2012, was the deadline for Senate bills to be passed by the California State Senate and for Assembly bills to be passed by the California State Assembly. Bills that failed to meet the deadline are dead.

Northern California supermarket workers call in strategist for contract talks After a week of strike talk and increasing bitterness, Northern California supermarket workers have called in a strategist from their union's international headquarters to help with stalled contract negotiations.

AT&T wireline union workers protest in California, Nevada AT&T's (NYSE: T) ongoing negotiations with their wireline union workforce took a turn late last week when thousands of employees in their California and Nevada regions walked off the job in a one-day protest.


State News 6.12

Lawmakers will start moving budget plan through Legislature  Legislators, at risk of having their pay docked if they fail to pass a budget this week, say they'll begin moving a spending plan on Tuesday, no matter if they agree what should be in it.

Democrats unveil cloudy state budget document  Democrats in the state Assembly are poised to formally reject some of Governor Jerry Brown's social services cuts and instead create a smaller cash cushion, while directing more local property tax dollars to help fund public schools.

Walters: Brown tax plan looks very shaky  The state budget that the Legislature will enact this week will assume that half of its deficit will be covered by voter approval of new income and sales taxes next November.


Workers Comp 6.11

AT&T workers walk off the job Thousands of AT&T technicians and call center workers at more than 100 sites in California and Nevada walked off the job Friday to protest what a union spokesman called an "insulting" memo from an AT&T vice president.


State News 6.11

Walters: California budget process has reverted to secrecy  As the Capitol churns toward Friday's deadline for a new state budget, the macro-issues are well known, such as whether health, welfare and child care services should be slashed by billions of dollars to close the deficit.

Move over, Wisconsin -- the union battle is beginning in California  Labor unions and business interests have been quietly raising millions of dollars and testing campaign messages for months, girding for a brawl over a November ballot measure that could fundamentally shift political power in Sacramento.

Dan Walters Daily: Will voters pass Jerry Brown's tax proposal? Dan Walters says that California lawmakers may be assuming wrong if they pass a budget that assumes that voters will approve Gov. Jerry Brown's tax package in November.


Workers Comp 6.08

DWC Administrative Director Rosa Moran Visits ICW Group for Hands-On Claims Experience On the heels of April's seven-city Public Forum tour, DWC Administrative Director Rosa Moran continued her fact-finding mission on the workers' compensation process.

Dirk Stemerman: Containing workers' compensation costs The workers' compensation social contract with workers was created as an employer protection. Workers surrendered the right to sue employers for work injuries in exchange for guaranteed benefits such as medical treatment and disability payments.

Business Journal: Raley's, Pulte, Worker's Comp Union members voted to authorize a strike against Raley's this week. It tops Sacramento Business Journal Editor Jack Robinson's list of local economic stories...

Rising workers’ comp rates alarm employers, brokers  The California’s workers’ compensation market may be in trouble again. Employers are alarmed by rising rates for mandatory insurance to cover workers injured on the job. This trend ends a period of relative calm that followed the system reforms of nearly a decade ago.

Restaurants get big bills from workers’ comp provider  Restaurants around the state face steep bills — in the neighborhood of $30,000 each ­— from their workers’ compensation insurance provider.

Save Mart makes 'last, best and final' offer to union workers Now it's Save Mart Supermarkets that is veering dangerously close to a strike. Frustrated after months of negotiations, the Modesto chain gave its union workers an ultimatum of sorts Thursday: its "last, best and final" contract offer.

Martinez: Tesoro refinery workers accept contract Workers at the Tesoro refinery in Martinez have voted to accept the company's latest contract offer, ending the possibility of a strike that could have increased California's gasoline prices.

Study: Spinal Implant loophole Costs Calif. Workers’ Comp $67M Workers’ compensation medical costs in California were boosted by nearly $67.5 million in 2010 due to loophole in the law that allows double billing for surgical implants, according to a study released on Wednesday by the California Workers’ Compensation Institute.

California to get $15.6 million from AIG tax settlement a giant insurance company, will pay $15.6 million in penalties to California to settle allegations that its affiliated companies underreported how much business they did to state regulators.

Labor Faces New Challenge  Organized labor, reeling from blows to government workers in Wisconsin and California elections, is grappling with the prospect of diminished political clout and fewer members in public-sector unions that have formed the core of the movement's power in recent years.

Jobs for skilled workers are going unfilled Filling jobs has been difficult for firms in some industries or certain parts of the country — particularly for companies seeking skilled workers — despite high unemployment.


State News 6.08

State budget deadline looms, deal points still TBA  California's last chief executive loved the ticking budget clock he placed outside his Capitol office -- one that added dollar after dollar for every second the Legislature was late in delivering a state spending plan. There's no actual clock these days, but if there was it would be ticking rapidly toward zero next Friday night, when legislators forfeit their pay if they don't send a budget to Gov. Jerry Brown.

Walters: What kind of California budget will emerge?  There was no chance that Democratic legislators would fashion a new state budget before last Tuesday's primary election, since budget votes could have become campaign ammunition.

Left pushes for $10 minimum wage, but House Democratic leadership balks  The House Democrats pushing for a steep hike in the minimum wage could face an unlikely foe: their own leadership.

Dan Walters Daily: With budget, 'there's no rest for the wicked' Dan Walters says California legislators' task next week is agreeing on budget cuts


Workers Comp 6.07

EK Health 'Next Step' Achieves Large Payer Savings in Workers' Comp Cases Involving Narcotic Drugs With prescription drug abuse near epidemic proportions and the FDA's initiative to educate medical providers on the use of opioids, EK Health Services is well ahead of the curve.

Labor's losses appear to be pension reformers' gains  Labor's steep losses at the polls Tuesday gave new hope to pension reformers throughout California and perhaps new impetus to Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders to strike a deal on lowering the cost of public-employee pensions.

Labor Faces New Challenge  Organized labor, reeling from blows to government workers in Wisconsin and California elections, is grappling with the prospect of diminished political clout and fewer members in public-sector unions that have formed the core of the movement's power in re

Save Mart gives workers 'last, best' offer in latest grocery labor strife Save Mart Supermarkets has given its union workers its "last, best and final" contract offer - a move that could provoke a strike. Leaders of the United Food and Commercial Workers called the offer "not acceptable." But they also offered to meet with Save

6.3 million Californians lack access to workplace retirement plan, Labor Center research finds After more than a decade of declining private sector pension coverage, 6.3 million Californians do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, according to a new study released today (Thursday, June 7) by the University of California, Berkel


State News 6.07

Few centrists advance in California's new primary system  California's new voting system may have been designed largely to shake up the polarized state Capitol, but Tuesday's election made it clear that the promised political earthquake will have to wait

California's new setup a hurdle for Democrats' bid to retake House  The party fails to secure a November election slot in an Inland Empire district it was counting on. Redrawn lines and the 'top two' rule produce at least seven same-party races for Congress.


Workers Comp 6.06

States Collecting on $146 Million AIG Workers’ Comp Settlement State regulators around the county are finally collecting their share of a multimillion dollar settlement reached with American International Group (AIG) in 2010 based on the company’s misreporting of workers’ compensation premiums for the years 1985 to 1996.

California Employment Lawyers Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik Challenge the Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Overtime Status of Salaried Employees Working For Chartis Claims, Inc. The wage and hour lawyers at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik are challenging the exempt vs. non-exempt status of certain types of salaried employees in California through the use of class action lawsuits


State News 6.06

California voters overwhelmingly approve term limits change  California voters overwhelmingly agreed Tuesday to alter the state's term limits law by allowing lawmakers to serve longer in one house, adding another new wrinkle to the Legislature's way of business.

Latest California Primary Coverage and Results 8:30 A.M. update Stockton mayoral race set for November; Wildfire protection tax measure fails; Davis parks measure passes easily; Cigarette tax fails; Term limits measure passes.


Workers Comp 6.05

Inspections Improve Bottom Lines, Study of Cal/OSHA Results Finds Businesses that underwent state safety inspections in California saved money, on average, because the reviews lowered workers' compensation and other medical costs, according to a study published May 18 in Science magazine.

AIG settles workers compensation insurance complaint with all 50 states, DC for $146.5M American International Group Inc. and its affiliates have agreed to pay $146.5 million to all 50 states and the District of Columbia to settle a complaint that it misreported billions of dollars in workers compensation premiums in past years.

California DA Charges Man With Conspiracy To Falsify Wages The District Attorney's office filed charges against a Hesperia insurance broker accused of conspiring with his client to defraud an insurance company of more than $100,000 by falsifying employee wages. Gregory Santolucito, the 32-year-old president of GSS Insurance Services, is scheduled to be arraigned on July 5.

Four Biggest Mistakes of Workers Comp Claim Adjusters Adjusters are faced daily with the task of making many different decisions on many different types of claims. Every claim is in different stage it is easy to lose track of some of them.  Mistakes can come in a variety of different scenarios, and below we discuss four common oversights that the adjuster can make.


State News 6.05

Walters: California's primary election stakes are minimal  Primary elections are, by their nature, not conclusive political events, but rather stage-setters for the real showdown in November.

New Day for California Voters  Californians will vote Tuesday in a primary election with new rules that backers hope will lead to change in this state's polarized political landscape.


Workers Comp 6.04

California WCAB Adopts New And Amended Rules Relating To Lien Claims The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) has adopted or amended three sections of its Rules of Practice and Procedure (Rules) relating to lien claims. These new lien Rules went into effect on May 21, 2012.

Painkillers hike workers’ compensation cost, insurers say Injured who take opioids slower to return to work Workplace insurers are accustomed to making billions of dollars in payments each year, with the biggest sums going to employees hurt in major accidents, such as those mangled by machines or crushed in building collapses.

Grocery chain workers move closer to strike  Workers at one of Northern California's largest supermarket chains are moving closer to a possible strike after the supermarket declared an impasse in talks over a new contract. Local 5 of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which represents the majority of Raley's supermarkets' 7,750 unionized workers, has already authorized a strike. Local 8 of the Food and Commercial Workers union plans to hold a strike authorization vote soon.

Tesoro Martinez Refinery workers to vote on contract-union Hourly workers at independent western U.S. refiner Tesoro Corp's largest refinery are scheduled to vote on Wednesday on a contract proposal reached after three days of talks between the company, the United Steelworkers union (USW) and a federal mediator aimed at averting a strike, a union spokeswoman said.

Growers in California's Central Valley struggle to cope with farmworker shortage Kevin Steward has spent more than a quarter-century in agriculture, much of that growing grapes for wineries. He's always been able to rely on seasonal workers to tend the vines and bring in the year's harvest. But this year, workers are harder to come by.

California government unions move to squeeze out private contractors  With California facing yet another budget crisis that threatens state jobs and pay, employee unions are moving on several fronts to push use of civil service workers instead of private contractors for state government work.


State News 6.04

State's top 100 political donors contribute $1.25 billion  In a state with nearly 38 million people, few have more influence than the top 100 donors to California campaigns – a powerful club that has donated overwhelmingly to Democrats and spent $1.25 billion to influence voters over the past dozen years.

Bill would help job-seekers move into self-employment  Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, introduced the Entrepreneurial Training Improvement Act of 2012 in late May. The bill would make training available for would-be entrepreneurs through local Workforce Investment Boards.


Workers Comp 6.01


Most job injury costs not paid by worker’s comp Workers’ compensation insurance is not used nearly as much as it should be to cover the multi-billion-dollar price tag for workplace illnesses and injuries in the United States.

California IC Announces Bill To Help Fight Insurance Fraud Passes Assembly Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today announced the California Assembly passed AB 2138, authored by Assembly Member Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley). The bill is sponsored by Commissioner Jones and the California Department of Insurance (CDI).

California DWC Surveys Copy Services Users The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) has created a follow-up survey online about copy services and their fees in the workers’ compensation system. The first survey, issued on Nov. 4, 2011, brought forward many valuable suggestions, some of which are reflected in the second survey to solicit more in-depth information from interested parties.

Teamsters Condemn La Michoacana's Attack On Workers' Rights To Form Union The Teamsters Union has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against La Michoacana and is condemning the ice cream company's attack on workers' rights to organize after the company fired 33 employees who supported the union.

Assembly approves farm worker protection bill The state Assembly approved legislation Thursday that would expose agricultural employers to civil lawsuits for failing to abide by heat safety requirements.

How Bad Jobs Report Can Trigger Vicious Cycle The economy added just 69,000 jobs in May, according to the Labor Department, and the unemployment rate increased for the first time in nearly a year, from 8.1 to 8.2 percent. Could that news have a psychological effect causing real problems for the economy? Host Michel Martin asks NPR's senior business editor Marilyn Geewax.

'Unemployed' Doesn't Mean 'Unemployable' In any recession, from any era, unemployed workers face challenges that are unique to the time but consistent across history. Finding new work is never easy, but during a recession the search can prove almost impossible, as greater numbers of unemployed workers fight over fewer available jobs.

Out-of-network doctor's report admissible evidence in workers comp case: Court A report from a doctor who is not part of an employer's workers compensation medical network is admissible as evidence for determining benefits, a California appellate court ruled.


State News 6.01

Panel cuts pay of California governor, lawmakers  A state panel on Thursday sent a message about the severity of California's $15.7 billion budget deficit by approving a 5 percent pay cut for lawmakers and statewide elected officials, including Gov.


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