Introduced Bill – Protecting Injured Government Workers’ Act of 2012

____________________________                                            Councilmember Michael A. Brown A BILL IN THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Councilmember ____________________________ introduced the following bill, which was referred to the Committee on ____________________________. To amend the District of Columbia’s Public Sector Workers’ Compensation Program to repeal the prohibition of claims for mental stress or emotional conditions or diseases; establish that treating physicians have preference over other opinions absent compelling reasons to the contrary; provide that a claimant who begins to receive compensation will continue to do so until an administrative law judge upholds a determination to suspend, reduce, or terminate compensation; require the availability of disability compensation subject to annual review of a claimants status by an administrative law judge if an injury lasts longer than 500 weeks without being reclassified as permanent; and clarify the applicability of the additional award owed to claimants when Office of Administrative Hearings orders are not followed within 30 days. BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this act may be cited as the “Protecting Injured Government Workers Act of 2012.”  Sec. 2.  Title XXIII of the District of Columbia Government Comprehensive Merit Personnel Act of 1978, Public Sector Workers’ Compensation, effective March 3, 1979 (D.C. Law 2-139; D.C. Official Code §§ 1-623.01 et seq.), is amended as follows: (a) Section 2302(b) and (c) (D.C. Official Code § 1-623.02(b) and (c)) are repealed.  (b) Section 2323(a-2)(4) (D.C. Official Code § 1-623.23(a-2)(4)) is amended by inserting the phrase “In all medical opinions used under this section, the diagnosis or medical opinion of the employee’s treating physician shall be accorded great weight over...

Protecting Injured Government Workers Act of 2012

Over 2,000 injured D.C. government employees go through the Public Sector Workers Compensation Program each year. These benefits are intended to give injured government workers financial security when injured on the job and help them pay for their medical care, rent and other basic necessities. Unfortunately, due to a decade of poor administration and noncompliance, formerly middle-class injured workers have been driven into poverty. Instead of protecting injured D.C. employees, we have allowed thousands of District residents to fall into poverty as a result of their workplace injuries. In 2004 and 2006, the D.C. Council passed legislation to reduce the time for resolving injured workers’ eligibility, to create penalties for late payments to injured workers, and to codify the preference for an injured worker’s treating physician’s opinion when determining work eligibility over that of a government-designated doctor who had very limited information regarding the claimant’s health condition. These reforms were designed to ensure that injured D.C. employees would not languish without any income while they were unable to do work. Unfortunately, the FY 2011 budget reversed some of these legislative victories. The Council granted government appointed doctors with limited knowledge of a client’s health condition greater weight in determining work eligibility, reducing the role of treating physicians. The Council also repealed protections for workers that suffered mental trauma, allowed workers to be lose their benefits even before an Administrative Law Judge has the opportunity to evaluate their side of the story, and capped benefits for injuries that ORM classifies as “temporary” even though they continue for more than 500 weeks. These repeals endangered injured workers’ right to fairly access...

Respect DC Calls on JBG to Bring Affordable Housing and Good Jobs to the Region

Coalition says developer does not deserve Developer of the Year Award when their projects are harming communities and displacing residents. WASHINGTON, D.C., October 24 – Calling for an end to development that has been bringing low wage, part time jobs and displacing longtime residents, Respect DC rallied at noon today outside the Wardman Park Marriott in DC where the JBG Companies were receiving the “Developer of the Year” award from NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, at their annual meeting, which costs over $1000/per person to attend. “Developers should not be rewarded for displacing residents and bringing jobs that make it impossible to live in the area and support a family,” said Mike Wilson, with DC Jobs with Justice. “DC and the region need more affordable housing, and jobs that allow people to work full time for a living wage. Fighting to stop the First Source hiring law, bringing a low wage employer like Walmart, and replacing affordable housing units with luxury condos and hotels, only harms our community.” Respect DC is calling on JBG to bring Walmart to the table with community groups and sign a Community Benefits Agreement before they move forward on any projects with the retailer. They also demand that JBG, which sits on the board of the Associated Builders and Contractors, the group suing the DC government over the recently strengthened First Source Hiring Law, call on ABC to drop the law suit. In addition, they joined with Tenants and Workers United in calling on JBG to preserve affordable housing and not displace more than 2,000 working families residing the Beauregard redevelopment zone...

Paid Sick and Safe Bill Passes DC Council!

On Tuesday, March 4th in front of a packed and tense audience of over 100 people, the DC Council voted unanimously to pass the Accrued Sick and Safe Days Act of 2007. The vote makes DC only the second city in the country to have a paid sick days law, and the first to provide paid time off to victims of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault. rnrnUnder the new law, full-time workers at businesses with over 100 employees will earn 7 days a year to take care of their own health, the health of family members, or address a domestic violence situation. Workers at businesses with 25-99 employees will earn 5 days, and workers at businesses of 24 or fewer will earn 3 days. Part-time workers will earn paid time on a pro-rated basis. rnrnWhile winning this groundbreaking bill over huge opposition was a big victory, we also suffered some losses: rnrn*By a 7-6 vote, the Council approved a change that says workers have to be at a job for a full year or 1,000 hours before earning paid sick time. This will especially hurt young workers, workers in high-turnover service sector jobs, and people re-entering the workforce, such as ex-offenders and TANF recipients. Councilmembers Vincent Gray, David Catania and Jack Evans pushed through this change, and Councilmembers Harry Thomas, Mary Cheh, Kwame Brown and Yvette Alexander voted in support.rnrn*The Council denied sick and safe days to several categories of workers, including tipped restaurant workers, health care workers in “premium pay programs”, and students employed through University work-study programs.rnrn*The law will also allow businesses to apply for an...

Walmart delays opening stores because of actions of community activist!

Last weekend Walmart announced that it will delay opening six stores in the District of Columbia. Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo told the Washington Post that “we’re using the extra time to further engage with the neighborhoods that surround our stores and build even more support for Walmart,”. Walmart, which had originally planned to open four stores by the end of the year, now says the first store – most likely at the corner at Georgia and Missouri avenues in Northwest – won’t open until late 2013, with the others in 2014 and beyond.“Walmart would not be altering its original timeline if company executives did not believe it needed more time to convince District residents that low-wage poverty jobs that can force workers to rely on public assistance are what D.C. needs,” said Dyana Forester of Respect DC. The Respect DC Coalition has been pushing the big-box retailer to sign a legally binding Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). If you would like more information on how you can become involved in the Respect DC campaign visit www.respectdc.org or click on the Walmart:Respect DC icon on our...