D.C. Council: Fix the Compensation System for Injured Public Workers

Over 2,000 injured D.C. government employees go through the Public Sector Workers Compensation Program each year. Disability benefits are intended to give injured government workers financial security when injured on the job and help them pay their medical care, rent, and other basic necessities. Unfortunately, due to a decade of poor administration an noncompliance, formerly middle-class injured workers have been driven into poverty. The D.C. Council should act immediately and pass legislation to: Restore the great weight afforded to the opinions of treating physicians to ensure accurate medical assessments of injuries Provide that injured workers will not lose disability compensation while they are navigating the administrative process Enable compensation for mental stress or emotional conditions suffered by workers as a result of their injuries Protect workers with injuries that last longer than 500 weeks, but are still classified as “temporary” rather than “permanent” Bring the compensation program back “in house” rather than contracting with a company that profits at the expense of workers   Take Action >>> Sign the...

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...

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...

DC Workers Union, DC Jobs with Justice, and Metropolitan Police Department celebrate new procedure to resolve wage theft complaints

    PRESS RELEASE IMMEDIATE RELEASE – UPDATE June 14, 2012 DC WORKERS UNION, DC JOBS WITH JUSTICE, AND METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT CELEBRATE NEW PROCEDURE TO RESOLVE WAGE THEFT COMPLAINTS CONTACT: Arturo Griffiths DC Jobs with Justice PHONE: 202-445-0411   CONTACT: Rachel Sier DC Jobs with Justice PHONE: 202-427-2172   District of Columbia day laborers (Unión de Trabajadores de DC/DC Workers Union) and DC Jobs with Justice announce the development of a new procedure to involve the Metropolitan Police Department in investigating and documenting wage theft cases. On Thursday, June 14th the members of the Unión de Trabajadores de DC/DC Workers Union and DC Jobs with Justice will celebrate this new accord with representatives from the MPD and DOES. The celebration will be held at 7 PM at the Foundry Church located at 1500 P St. NW, Washington, DC For the past several years DC Jobs with Justice has been working with immigrant day laborers to address the rampant problem of wage theft that affects workers throughout the District of Columbia. Wage theft occurs when workers do not get paid for work performed or are laid off without being paid their salary. Carlos Diaz, a member of la Union de Trabajadores de DC, says “Many of us work long hours to make ends meet. But frequently contractors refuse to pay what we are owed at the end of the day. We are happy that the D.C. police will now get involved in assisting us to recover our wages”. This procedure defines the role of the police in supplementing existing institutions by creating a standard protocol and training for officers...