Tuesday, April 6, 2010, 10:28 PM - Political developmentsThis year's California governor's race will have vast consequences for the workers' comp system and the comp community.
The California Chamber of Commerce is already putting their foot down.
The Chamber, very active on workers' comp issues during the Schwarzenegger era, is now going up on the air with anti-Jerry Brown ads:
"Enough is Enough", claiming that he is for high taxes and out of control spending:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/califor ... -wink-and-
We'll be seeing an orgy of independent expenditure ads this political season. Workers' comp will be an issue, but an issue dwarfed by calls for public employee pension reform and tax and spending issues.
Meanwhile, Jerry Brown now has a "progressive" challenger, Peter Schurman of San Francisco, a former Moveon.org executive. There are a number of bloggers and netroots activists who are skeptical of the Brown campaign. Whether this will sap much needed energy from the Brown campaign or whether Brown can turn the fire from the left into more acceptance by independent voters remains to be seen. Meanwhile, here is Schurman's website:
Meanwhile, eMeg Whitman has made a pit stop, refueling her campaign with $20 million more in cash.
Just when are those Poizner ads finally going to run?
Sunday, April 4, 2010, 08:54 PM - Political developmentsThis week was the end of the line for NUUMI, the Fremont, California joint venture of General Motors and Toyota.
With NUMMI's closing, thousands of good blue collar jobs are gone. As they go, so the jobs of most of the suppliers and transport people who kept this huge plant going.
Like Mack Trucks and Peterbilt and Caterpillar and so many other heavy industries that once were sited in the Bay Area, NUUMI has moved on.
Over the years my firm handled hundreds of workers' comp claims for NUUMI workers. By most measures, those were good jobs that paid well for blue collar work. In my experience, injured workers from NUUMI were anxious to return to work. They knew that they had a good job in a declining manufacturing economy.
Many of those blue collar workers feel that the deck is stacked against them. It's a wonder that there's not more anger than we see.
The reasons for the decline in heavy manufacturing in California go far beyond workers' comp costs. Transit congestion, water issues, outsourcing overseas, energy pricing, foreign exchange rates, lower wages in some states...the factors are legion.
Yes, California may lose some jobs to Alabama & Tennesee, but ultimately this is a national problem.
We need a certain amount of folks asking whether you want fries with that hamburger.
We can employ lots of people in the service economy just to fight off claims by other folks.
One example is the business model of Talx, featured in a Sunday New York Times front page story today, "Contesting Jobless Claims Becomes a Boom Industry":
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/04/us/04 ... wanted=all
Free traders will argue that a national industrial policy is a ruse for more government intervention in the markets, propping up inefficient enterprises. Even progressive economists such as Paul Krugman and Robert Reich have differed over the concept, however.
For example, look at this flashback to 1983, before NAFTA and the acceleration of outsourcing to Asia:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... 30,00.html
From my window I can see the Port of Oakland. Those container ships may not be calling in port as often as before the financial meltdown. But they are still laden with manufactured goods, particularly from Asia.
Dealing with currency valuation imbalances will help, but the USA needs to recommit to manufacturing. If ever there was an issue that could be bipartisan, this should be it.
Without a viable manufacturing economy, we are in trouble.
Friday, April 2, 2010, 07:45 AM - Political developments"If you voted for Obama, seek urologic care elsewhere"....
Check it out......The healthcare debate has turned into a healthcare pout on the part of some, including this Orlando, Florida urologist:
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/loc ... 401,0,6040
In a politically divided country, it's not surprising that we're seeing some litmus tests. In many instances passion is eclipsing reason. Here is a riff by Newsweek's Howard Fineman on the poll numbers behind that passion:
http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/thegaggl ... print=true
But if you were a urology patient there in Orlando with your own personal plumbing problem, you might just want to relieve yourself on the spot.
Thursday, April 1, 2010, 09:44 PM - Political developmentsIf you are in the "comp community" you're not going to the WCAB tomorrow. The furloughs-declared illegal-are back on, for tomorrow at least. Or until the "stay" is lifted.
What to do with your free time?
You could take a minute to read about the Republican National Committee mailer that included a toll free phone sex number:
http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/ ... umber.html
But you're in not in a kinky mood just now.
Perhaps you should listen to "Job Cuts Mean More Work for the Employed".
It's an interesting NPR radio piece analyzing the effects of the current economic malaise, as workers are asked to do more. Productivity has risen, as workers fear to change jobs and employers hold back on hiring.
You can stream the radio segment from NPR's Thursday 4/1/2010 "Talk of the Nation" show, searchable on this link:
http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/r ... hp?prgId=5
Happy furlough day. May this prove to be the last.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010, 10:47 PM - Understanding the CA WC systemThere's a Food Network. A Shopping channel. C-Span for political junkies. Fashion TV.
Now there's IWTN.
In my inbox yesterday was an announcement about IWTN, the Injured Workers Television Network. IWTN is the brainchild of injured worker Sam Gold. For several years Sam has produced and directed a show about workers' comp from the public access studios on Market St. in San Francisco.
Now Gold and his group, the National Organization of Injured Workers, have more ambitious plans.
Here's their press release:
"The National Organization of Injured Workers, America’s only national injured workers advocacy organization is pleased to announce the formation and launch in mid-April of the Injured Workers Television Network, (IWTN) an internet television broadcasting network utilizing the Microsoft Windows Media Player as a distribution platform. Their network will be capable of up to 3000 concurrent streams at any one time.
This will be a primary vehicle for “Injured On The Job,” their flagship television program now seen on Public Access cable stations around California.
IWTN will be broadcasting at start for 6 hours a day, three days a week from 4 till 10pm with information, videos and programs that are of importance to injured workers and their advocates. As laws change and significant events manifest themselves, they will comment and cover these events to the best of their abilities.
They are also looking into videotaping and re-broadcasting important committee meetings such as the Commission on Health Safety & Workers’ Compensation, Fraud Assessment Commission and DWC meetings, live streaming where at all possible.
It is hoped that IWTN will be a very loud media voice for injured workers and their advocates who up till now have had to rely on 2 minute video bytes on the 6 o’clock news to get their message out.
They also will be taking their cameras into the homes of the occupationally injured to show the human carnage that our dysfunctional system is causing on the working people of America.
IWTN will also be looking for interested organizations to underwrite their broadcasting infrastructure costs in exchange for network exposure.
To watch IWTN, simply go to the website located at www.injuredworkerstelevision.com and press the play button on the embedded Windows Media Player during broadcast hours ONLY or you will get nothing on the screen."
For further information contact:
640 Bailey Road, Suite 129
Pittsburg, CA 94565
Toll-Free 1 (877) 484-3990