Last week, Californians pushed back on efforts to protect gig workers and provide more equal opportunities for communities of color, raising important questions about where our state goes from here to protect those in need.
One thing that is clear from the results of both the 2016 and 2020 Presidential Elections is that working- class voters find their way to the candidate they believe will stand up for them.
The question in California now is which political party will put the interests of the growing number of working-class families first. The danger in “deep blue” California is complacency – taking those working families for granted.
We saw it this year when the Legislature ignored injured workers who contracted COVID and refused to extend a conclusive COVID-19 presumption to all essential workers. We saw it when Governor Newsom vetoed legislation that would give workers who lost their jobs in the pandemic the legal right to be hired back first as businesses are able to begin increasing their staffing.
Though these developments are disappointing, our resolve is unwavering and we’ll ally ourselves with those who continue fighting for labor protections and equity in the workers’ compensation system and beyond.
The elimination of gender and racial bias in apportionment has long been a goal of our organization, and we’ll continue looking at options to prohibit consideration of race, religious creed, color, national origin, age, gender, marital status, sex, sexual identity, sexual orientation, or genetic characteristics in determining disability ratings.
As workers of color are more likely to file cumulative trauma (CT) claims, having worked in the most labor-intensive jobs in hospitality, manufacturing and agriculture, we’ll continue to fight against any effort to curtail their ability to file CT claims and obtain their legally-mandated benefits.
We’ll also continue efforts to improve delays in the system so Californians don’t have to wait months to obtain necessary medical care or travel hundreds of miles to see a QME specialist.
And as the COVID-19 pandemic surges anew this fall, we’ll continue to push for increased protections for essential employees and all workers who contract the virus as a result of their working conditions.
While some battles for worker protections and equity may have been settled momentarily both in the Capitol and at the ballot box, as we turn toward the future, we’ll continue to play the long game in hopes of creating a better world and a better workers’ compensation system for all Californians.