Yesterday, we reported on a fiscal note to a controversial bill that would allow workers to take settlements rather than making companies pay what the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) mandates to cover ongoing medical and retraining costs in workers' comp cases.

Labor argues that the settlement system is rigged against injured workers because companies will put injured workers in a desperate situation by "starving them out"—appealing the L&I deal and pushing workers to take "voluntary" settlements for a necessary cash infusion, but for less— and less stable funding.

Business argues that the settlements, which must be approved by L&I, will save the workers' comp fund money by closing cases quickly (staving off administrative costs). The fiscal note released yesterday made business' point, estimating savings in the next biennium at $1.2 billion.

However, as we've noted many times now, and as the Office of Financial Management told us yesterday, the savings also underscore labor's complaint: the settlements will be worth less than the traditional workers' comp payments, $171,000 less per family the Washington State Labor Council estimates.

In response to the $1.2 billion news, the Washington State Labor Council released a YouTube hitting that point again.


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