Workers' Compensation "Reform"--It's All In How You Phrase It!

iStock_000000623974XSmallMuch has been written in this blog about Illinois lawymakers various attempts to "reform" the Workers' Compensation Act. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you realize the potentially dangerous slope this alleged reform takes.

Everyone who works in Illinois has a right to be compensated for any on-the-job injuries. This includes everyone from nurses to soccer moms to store clerks to accountants. Every worker in Illinois is subject to this protection that was earned during the hard fought times of the Progressive era a century ago.

What the "reformers" are great at doing is phrasing the changes as "reform" or, as was done in our neighboring state of Wisconsin with the union collective bargaining rights and budget, phrased as a fiscal issue where this was not the case at all.

Much as the phrase "tax cuts" sounds universally wonderful, so do the phrases "new" or "reformed" or "improved." It's just a matter of controlling the dialogue.

Well, don't be fooled by any of this!

A recent story about reform efforts of the workers' comp system in North Carolina reiterate much of this. The Charlotte Observer story shows all the ways legislators name things to garner public support without any real relationship to the actual content of the legislation.

You can call a turtle a monarch butterfly but it remains a turtle. Do not sit back idly while your elected representatives take away your workers' comp rights without your input, especially when they call it something non-threatening sounding like "reform."

Stay tuned!

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