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Organized labor calls current Legislature one of the worst


Topeka — Labor officials are not happy with the Kansas Legislature.

Citing a recent report that lists Kansas as one of the nation's 10 most deadly states in workplace safety, labor officials said Wednesday the 2013 Legislature will be remembered as one of the most anti-worker legislatures ever.

"Far too many people are dying on the job in this state and instead of strengthening protections for working people, our elected officials are further rigging the system against Kansas workers," said Bruce Tunnell, executive vice president of the Kansas AFL-CIO. "Their misplaced priorities will mean that the health and well-being of more working people are at risk on the job."

An AFL-CIO report said that 78 workers were killed on the job in Kansas in 2011, a rate of 5.9 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to the national average of 3.6 deaths per 100,000 workers. In addition, 41,000 workplace injuries and illnesses were reported, which was a rate higher than the national average. Kansas ranks 40th in workplace safety, according to the report.

But instead of addressing these safety issues, Tunnell said, the Legislature approved and Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law measures that make it more difficult for injured workers to collect workers' compensation.

Senate Bill 187 puts the appointment of workers' compensation judges more in the hands of businesses and insurance providers. Business groups said the former system favored nominees who were the least objectionable, and not necessarily the most qualified.

Senate Bill 73 reduces the time an injured worker can report a workplace injury, and puts in place new impairment guidelines for injured workers that organized labor has opposed. Supporters of the bill said the new impairment ratings were simply an update.


imastinker 5 years ago

I wonder if agricultural workers are included in that figure, and how our state compares to other states with similar types of jobs.

chootspa 5 years ago

Yes, it includes agriculture, since that's the biggest cause of fatalities in this state and a hugely dangerous industry in general.

imastinker 5 years ago

I agree. How does Brownback's actions have any effect on the death rate?

I would guess that kansas fatality rate is similar to other states. Not trying to defend any of this, but any discussion should start with a decent set of facts.

chootspa 5 years ago

The governor appointed two state secretaries of labor (one of whom he also suddenly fired), so he does have influence on how safety issues are handled. Brownback is also on record as opposing Dept of Labor regulations on youth farm work. Children count for a disproportionate number of farm injuries and deaths, which was why the regulation changes were proposed in the first place.

This year he also changed how the state reacts to injured workers. They have less time to report an injury, it's harder for injuries to qualify for compensation, and the governor has more freedom to appoint worker's comp board and appeals board members from industry. So I guess that's one way to make the problem go away, eh? Look how much we're reducing workplace injuries (by making it difficult to file or appeal claims)!

Mike1949 5 years ago

this started long before browback became Governor. Workman's comp have consistently gotten worse every few years to a point that if you get hurt in Ks, you are just a throw away person. It all started when Kansas became a right to work state.

What ever you do, don't get injured in Kansas, your life is over from there on! I speak from experience!

KSManimal 5 years ago

YEAH! 'cause that free speech/assembly/petitioning of the government stuff should only apply to wealthy business owners.

chootspa 5 years ago

And everyone knows that Kansas workers are forced to join unions.

jafs 5 years ago

Well, you don't "have" to be. But, a union is an expression of the fundamental constitutional rights mentioned.

Just as the NRA is - do you oppose them?

question4u 5 years ago

Yes, anti-worker. What else can you call legislation that gives business owners a free ride while making their workers shoulder the income tax burden? Those business owners are not required to add a single new job, so it's no use trying to evade the issue by talking about job creation. Kansas has become blatantly anti-worker, and the policies are not limited to issues over unions.

Armstrong 5 years ago

Yes ! business owners have a free ride, they don't have to beat competitors, provide product, service or profits they just maigically appear ! Add jobs to grow - ha. Who needs a stinking job - stuff just happens out of nowhere to produce revenue. All business owners do is smoke their cigars while sitting on their massive pile of money and laugh at the little guy. Wake up.

somebodynew 5 years ago

Personally, I didn't need Organized Labor to tell this is the worst Legislature. I figure that out on my own through this AND other __ they have done.

But I am pro union, and this Legislature is a prime example as to why (some) of them are needed.

Paul R Getto 5 years ago

31% Sam's muscularjesusperson is supposed to bust unions. That's how The Family got its start in the 1930's. Read up on Doug Coe, old 31's mentor.
To wit:
.....Sam's mentor's mouth: Doug Coe/The Family Cult

The Family’s main role in practical politics, as Sharlet demonstrates in considerable detail, has been to foster ties between the US and tyrants abroad. Christ’s men in government, it turns out, are not really interested in the complexities of theology. According to the Family’s calculus, to love Jesus is to love worldly power, for there is no authority but of God (Romans 13) and hence the powerful of the Earth are God’s anointed ones. Through the decades the Family has reached across the waters to join hands with some of the world’s most repressive regimes: Suharto in Indonesia, Park in South Korea, Medici in Brazil, Duvalier in Haiti, Selassie in Ethiopia, Siad Barre in Somalia. In the view of Doug Coe, the group’s current leader, the 20th century figures who best exemplified a New Testament approach to power were Hitler, Stalin and Mao.


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