FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2005
Contacts: Mark Hayes 562/630-1235, cell 714/396-5260,
Carroll Wills, California Professional Firefighters, 916/921-9111
Peggy Sugarman 916/446-1973, cell 510/520-6052
Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546, cell 916/956-4592
FIREFIGHTERS LINK UP WITH VOTERSINJUREDATWORK.ORG TO FIGHT FOR ADEQUATE DISABILITY COMPENSATION
SACRAMENTO — Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed creating a new and permanent partial disability compensation schedule for injured workers under California’s recently amended workers’ compensation system. In response, VotersInjuredatWork.org and attorneys for injured workers filed a lawsuit in January to challenge the Administration’s proposal to further slash injured workers’ disability compensation by two-thirds. The California Professional Firefighters (CPF) has announced its support for the legal move to overturn the new schedule reducing permanent disability compensation by up to 70%, and has posted a link on its own website to VotersInjuredatWork.org’s website. “I am constantly amazed by the level of animosity and hostility the Governor’s administration continues to direct towards the hard working men and women out there who build and protect California,” said CPF President Lou Paulson. “We’ve already taken a huge hit when it comes to seeking fair compensation if we’re harmed or injured on duty. Let me make it very clear: firefighters will stand in solidarity with our fellow laborers and public safety groups to fight yet another attempt to undermine the workers in our state.”
According to the complaint filed by proponents and attorneys for injured workers, it states that the Governor’s Permanent Disability Ratings Schedule (PDRS) “fails in every critical respect to comply with the law (SB 899), and will have “dire consequences” for Californians injured on the job. In addition, the lawsuit charges that the Administration failed to consider whether the new schedule would provide adequate benefit levels, as mandated in California’s Constitution.
The lawsuit seeks to have the schedule set aside or declared ineffective. “CPF strongly supports the proponents and the plaintiff in this suit, as firefighters have a high risk of injury because of the inherent danger they face on the job,” said Paulson.
Mark Hayes, president of VotersInjuredatWork.org, expressed his gratitude for CPF’s support, “Reducing already inadequate permanent disability compensation is wrong. Workers injured on the job are already losing their cars, their homes, and their good credit. The governor has turned a deaf ear to our plight, but we hope the courts will recognize that this schedule condemns injured workers to poverty and despair. We look forward to working with firefighters and others to remedy this situation.”
To read the entire complaint in the lawsuit, go to denialofcare.org.
To learn more about VotersInjuredatWork.org, please visit that address.
To visit the California Professional Firefighters’ website, go to cpf.org.