Builders plan initiative on workers' compensation
OLYMPIA -- The Building Industry Association of Washington plans to sponsor an initiative campaign to overhaul the workers' compensation system, which the homebuilders' group argues is among the costliest and least efficient in any state.
The measure would also eliminate workers' share of workers' comp premiums, the BIAW said yesterday.
But labor unions condemned the proposal as an attack on injured workers.
The initiative -- which has yet to be filed with the secretary of state -- incorporates several proposals that have failed in the Legislature in recent years. A task force convened by Gov. Gary Locke is currently studying changes to the system.
"BIAW has decided to file an initiative to send a message to the Legislature and the governor that inaction on this important issue will not be tolerated," said Gary Cronce, the BIAW's president.
The proposed changes include:
The Washington State Labor Council condemned the proposal.
"They will reduce benefits and they will hurt injured workers," said Karen Keiser, the council's spokeswoman and a Democratic state senator from Des Moines.
To get on the ballot as an initiative to the people this year, 200,000 signatures would have to be collected by July. Signatures for an initiative to the Legislature could be collected until December.
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