Our workers’ compensation system has been miserably failing to protect the basic human rights of millions of injured and ill workers, most particularly their rights to health, economic security, fair process and to be treated with dignity. When workers’ compensation was established, it was framed as a trade-off: in exchange for giving up the option to sue their employers when injured or made ill on the job, workers would receive both medical care and modest but reliable economic support. The “modest” has often been minimal, while the “reliable” has become a cruel joke. As prominent labor expert Jim Ellenberger notes, “workers’ compensation is broken”.
We urgently need to make our nation’s workers’ compensation comp system more accessible for injured and ill workers and come together to fight for a system that advances their rights. It is vital then that we support workers with job-related injuries and illnesses, expand our advocacy networks, coordinate pro-worker policy and organizing efforts and educate the public.
As a step in this direction, NESRI, in collaboration with the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, is launching a centralized web-based set of resources on workers’ compensation accessible on a popular level to workers and allies.
Workers’ Comp Hub provides:
· Basic information for injured and ill workers in all 50 states to help them navigate the complex workers’ compensation system;
· Resources and advocacy tools that present the problems, possible progressive reforms and pathways for pro-worker advocacy and action;
· A platform for sharing human rights based strategies and solutions as well as promoting actions and events.
Alongside regular news updates, we will be hosting a guest blog feature every month where we invite injured and ill workers, policy makers, practitioners, labor leaders, academics and others to share strategies and solutions that better meet the needs of injured and ill workers. This month, Allen Ray Bernard (injured worker activist), María E. Gutiérrez (Interfaith Worker Justice) and Jim Ellenberger (retired AFL-CIO) share their insights with us.
Our aim is to build a broad based network that connects policy efforts in workers’ compensation with advocacy and organizing on the ground. We invite you to visit the site at http://www.workerscomphub.org/ and share feedback, resources and tools as well as suggest events and actions for inclusion. Email us at .