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Don’t Let Sneaky Politicians Rig N.C. Governor’s Election After Voters Have Spoken

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Last week, after massive statewide recounts, the N.C Board of Elections finally certified Roy Cooper had won the N.C. Governor’s election. On Dec. 5, Pat McCrory conceded the election. McCrory, in a video message, said it was time to “celebrate our democratic process and respect what I see to be the ultimate outcome of the closest North Carolina governor’s race in modern history.”

The people of North Carolina thought we could all finally move on… but we were wrong.

Yesterday the N.C. General Assembly, in a last-minute special session, introduced 28 bills aimed at subverting the will of N.C. voters and limiting the powers of Gov.-elect Roy Cooper. This is an unprecedented, last minute power grab by defeated Gov. Pat McCrory and some Republican legislators, who want to steal the N.C. governor’s election from the people of North Carolina who democratically elected Roy Cooper. Clearly, Pat McCrory and the General Assembly have no interest in celebrating our democratic process or respecting the outcome of this close race, despite what McCrory said just 10 days ago.

This attempt to sneakily pass legislation before the holidays – without opportunity for debate and without the public’s knowledge – ignores the will of North Carolina voters. It is quite possibly unconstitutional. But we can’t wait for the N.C. Supreme Court to decide whether or not these bills are constitutional as the General Assembly is also working to pack the court with justices who will allow this to happen.

We must act IMMEDIATELY to make sure these sneaky, underhanded bills do not become law. Call your state legislators first thing THURSDAY MORNING and tell them to oppose these bills. Let them know that N.C. voters will not stand for this kind of last minute, crooked politics. Ask them to respect the democratic process, instead of throwing up roadblocks to prevent Roy Cooper from doing the job he was elected to do.

Among other things, these bills, if passed, would:

  • Allow Pat McCrory, before he leaves office, to appoint a new chairman of the N.C. Industrial Commission. This person would serve a four-year term. The Industrial Commission is the court for workers’ compensation claims, and we expect anyone McCrory appoints to favor big businesses and insurance companies over injured workers.
  • Require the incoming governor’s cabinet appointments to be confirmed by the state senate.
  • Take away the incoming governor’s power to power to appoint certain State Board of Education and UNC Board of Trustees officials.
  • Take away the new governor’s ability to hire and fire some 1,200 political supervisory positions.

Don’t wait to make your voice heard on this important matter. This special session is expected to close this week, and lawmakers could vote on these bad bills as early as THURSDAY MORNING.

If you need help with what to say, consider this:

This is ______ calling from ______. I am extremely concerned about several bills pending before the General Assembly. Roy Cooper won the governor’s race, and to strip his authority is just wrong. I also oppose the last-minute partisan power grab by Gov. McCrory and certain legislators. North Carolina voters deserve to have their votes count. Can I count on you to vote against rigging this election after the voters have spoken?

To find out who represents you in the General Assembly and how to contact them, click here.

Also, contact these key legislators to oppose these underhanded bills.

Sen. Michael Lee: (919) 715-2525 or [email protected]
Rep. Ted Davis: (919) 733-5786 or [email protected]
Rep. Holly Grange: (919) 733-5830 or [email protected]
Senate President Pro Tempore Sen. Phil Berger: (919) 733-5708 or [email protected]
House Speaker Tim Moore: (919) 733-3451 or [email protected]

Please call these legislators immediately and ask them to respect our democratic process. You can leave a voicemail message after hours.

Phone calls are our best chance at stopping these bills from becoming law, but it is also helpful to send an email expressing your opposition. You can send an email to all state legislators at once using this website.

Because the Industrial Commission bill could affect so many of our clients who are injured workers, we also think it is important to make separate phone calls to the committee members who will be voting on it Thursday morning.

The Industrial Commission bill has been sent to the Senate Redistricting Committee. To stop it in its tracks please contact these committee members and voice your opposition. All can be reached through the General Assembly main switchboard at (919) 733-7928 during normal business hours. You can find their direct office telephone numbers and email address for them here.

Sen. Bob Rucho
Sen. Chad Barefoot,
Sen. Dan Blue
Sen. Harry Brown
Sen. Ben Clark
Sen. Joel D. M. Ford
Sen. Kathy Harrington
Sen. Ralph Hise
Sen. Brent Jackson
Sen. Michael V. Lee
Sen. Floyd B. McKissick, Jr.
Sen. Shirley B. Randleman
Sen. Norman W. Sanderson
Sen. Jane W. Smith, Sen. Smith-Ingram
Sen. Trudy Wade
Sen. Andy Wells
If the bill passes the redistricting committee it will then go to the Finance Committee, whose members are listed below. All can be reached through the General Assembly main switchboard at (919) 733-7928 during normal business hours. You can find their direct office telephone numbers and email address for them by here.

Co-Chairman Sen. Bill Rabon
Co-Chairman Sen. Bob Rucho
Co-Chairman Sen. Jerry W. Tillman
Vice Chairman Sen. David L. Curtis
Vice Chairman Sen. Fletcher L. Hartsell, Jr.
Vice Chairman Sen. Ronald J. Rabin
Sen. John M. Alexander, Jr.
Sen. Chad Barefoot
Sen. Tamara Barringer
Sen. Dan Blue
Sen. Andrew C. Brock
Sen. Harry Brown
Sen. Angela R. Bryant
Sen. Ben Clark
Sen. Bill Cook
Sen. Warren Daniel
Sen. Don Davis
Sen. Jim Davis
Sen. Joel D. M. Ford
Sen. Kathy Harrington
Sen. Ralph Hise
Sen. Jeff Jackson
Sen. Brent Jackson
Sen. Tom McInnis
Sen. Floyd B. McKissick, Jr.
Sen. Wesley Meredith
Sen. E. S. (Buck) Newton
Sen. Louis Pate
Sen. Norman W. Sanderson
Sen. Jeff Tarte
Sen. Terry Van Duyn
Sen. Waddell
Sen. Trudy Wade
Sen. Andy Wells
As we learn more about the progress of these bills, we’ll do our best to keep you informed on our blog at We also recommend that you follow news coverage at WRAL and the News & Observer.

N.C. Supreme Court Packing Plan Ignores the Will of Voters

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With the surprising outcome of the presidential election and the uncertainty about who won the governor’s race in North Carolina, you may not have seen the latest news about our state’s judicial races.

Last week, Judge Mike Morgan, a candidate we endorsed, defeated incumbent Justice Bob Edmonds for a seat on the N.C. Supreme Court. This is a great outcome for North Carolina workers.

With Morgan’s election, the N.C. Supreme court will shift from Republican control to a 4-3 Democratic majority. And some Republican lawmakers aren’t happy about that, and they have a plan to undermine the will of the people and pack the court with unelected justices appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory before the end of his term.

The state high court is currently comprised of a Chief Justice and six associate justices, but the N.C. Constitution allows for nine justices.

The N.C. General Assembly is set to convene a special session next month regarding relief for Hurricane Matthew. The plan by some ranking state senators and representatives is to introduce and pass legislation to expand the N.C. Supreme Court to nine seats during that special session.

But voters wouldn’t get to choose the justices to fill those seats. The governor is expected to appoint two partisan judges — packing the state’s highest court and ignoring the will of the people.

This cannot happen, and it should not happen. There’s no good reason to expand the N.C. Supreme Court, whose workload has not increased significantly over the last 10 years, according to an official review of the state appellate court system.

As state Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue told WRAL, “This is the height of disrespect of state’s voters. To add justices just because they don’t like the outcome of the election is outrageous.”

Voters are already calling their state legislators in opposition to this court-packing scheme. And some are being told that the proposed bill is “just a rumor.”

But rest assured, there’s more than rumor behind these reports. This could happen, and it could happen quickly. So it’s important for North Carolina voters to oppose this underhanded attempt to change the makeup of our state’s highest court.

Gerry Cohen, former special counsel to the state legislature and an expert on state election law, told N.C. Policy Watch a court-packing bill could be presented and passed in in one day, the same way HB2 was passed.

Find out who represents you in the N.C. General Assembly and who to contact about N.C. Supreme Court packing here.

Don’t Sit Out This Important Election

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We all have an important job to do on Nov. 8.


(For polling places, important dates and other information, check out our 2016 Voter Guide.)

I know many people are fed up with politics and rhetoric from both political parties, or maybe you don’t really like any of the candidates running. But not voting is not the right choice.

Don’t sit out this election. There are too many important issues facing our country, our state and each of us individually. When you cast your ballot for president, governor, Congress, the N.C. General Assembly, judges and local officials, you have the power to change things for the better. But if you don’t vote, you give up that power.

You could be hurting yourself in the process.

Even those races that don’t seem to affect your life can have a tremendous impact.

Our next president will nominate justices to the Supreme Court. Members of Congress will vote which nominees to approve. And those justices will rule on matters of law that affect everyone’s civil rights and personal liberties.

Our next governor will have the power to enact or veto laws affecting business recruitment, personal and religious freedoms and workers rights. He will also be charged with appointing people to crucial positions within state government, including the N.C. Industrial Commission. Those political appointments could directly impact the resolution of your workers’ compensation claim.

Members of congress and state legislators wield incredible power, as well. Their decisions affect civil rights, human rights, worker rights, equal rights and public safety.

State and local judicial races are also important. Some of these are nonpartisan races, so you’ll find those at the end of the ballot. If you vote a straight ticket, you still need to cast your ballot for these important judicial races.

I believe you are someone, like us, who care about the integrity of our courts and electing judges who are fair to all sides and independent in their judgments. We have been representing community members for more than 25 years and have gained insight and experience within our judicial community. As a civil lawyer, I pay close attention to the North Carolina appellate courts. On Nov. 8, voters will elect judges for the North Carolina appellate courts, shaping our judicial system for years to come.

Now more than ever, we need fair and independent judges, committed to equal justice for all. This year, North Carolina voters will choose one justice on the Supreme Court and five judges on the Court of Appeals. Some races are nonpartisan, and candidates will appear with no party identification. The Court of Appeals candidates will be designated with their party affiliation (D or R), but the N.C. Supreme Court candidates will have no party designation.

Some of my friends, clients and family have asked for my recommendations in the judicial races. You will find these personal recommendations, along with endorsements from the N.C. Advocates for Justice at the end of this post.

Use your ballot wisely.

We offer these endorsements because we believe these candidates will stand up for the rights of hardworking North Carolinians and will set our state and nation on the right path. Please join us in supporting these candidates.

Some candidates who say they are looking out for people like you are lying. They are beholden to special interests and the insurance companies, or they’re pandering to fear, racism and bigotry.

Electing them will not be good for America, North Carolina or for you and your family.

We fully believe the candidates we have endorsed will best represent the rights of North Carolina workers.

Feel free to make copies of this blog post for your friends and family, and share on Facebook or other social media. Encourage everyone who is eligible to get out and vote! Be sure to bring a copy of these endorsements with when you vote, or write down these names and put the list in your wallet. (Smart phones cannot be used in the voting booth.)

2016 Election Endorsements

Every election season, the NCAJ PAC makes endorsements in important state, national and statewide judicial races.

We stand with the NCAJ in support of these candidates, as we believe they will do the best job of protecting people’s rights and treating everyone fairly, especially injured workers.

Governor – Roy Cooper
Lt. Governor – Linda Coleman
Attorney General – Josh Stein
Labor Commissioner – Charles Meeker
Insurance Commissioner – Wayne Goodwin
Secretary of State – Elaine Marshall
State Auditor – Beth Wood
State Treasurer – Dan Blue, III
Superintendent of Public Instruction – June Atkinson
N.C. Supreme Court: Judge Mike Morgan
N.C. Court of Appeals (Dietz seat): Judge Vince Rozier
N.C. Court of Appeals (Zachary seat): Judge Rickye McKoy-Mitchell
N.C. Court of Appeals (Hunter seat): Judge Robert N. Hunter, Jr.
N.C. Court of Appeals (Stephens seat): Judge Linda Stephens
N.C. Court of Appeals (Geer seat): Judge Margaret Eagles

Click here to download a sample ballot for your district.

2016 Voter Guide

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The 2016 Presidential and General Election is coming up Nov. 8.

Here are some important dates and things to remember as you head to the polls in North Caorlina:

Oct. 20-Nov. 5 – One-stop early voting
Click here to find early voting locations in your community.

Nov. 1 is the last day to request an absentee ballot in North Carolina
N.C. Absentee Ballot Request Form (English)
N.C. Absentee Ballot Request Form (Spanish)

Nov. 8 – Election Day

Do I need to show a photo ID to vote?

Because the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned North Carolina’s voter ID law this summer, registered voters are NOT be required to show an ID when voting in person this fall.

However, certain first-time voters casting their ballots in person or by mail may have to show some form of identification.

Under the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, first-time voters who at the time of their initial voter registration did not provide their North Carolina driver license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number, or who provided a number that could not be validated, will be required to show identification when they vote. This identification does not have to be a photo ID. A current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document are acceptable.

How should I vote?

We encourage you to do your own research into the candidates and various state and local races. To help with your decision making, look for our 2016 endorsement guide soon on the blog. You may also print out a customized sample ballot to take with you to the polls on Nov. 8.

Beware Bad Tax Advice About Workers’ Compensation Payments

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If your tax preparer tells you that you need to claim your workers’ compensation payment as income, it’s time to find a new accountant.

Workers’ compensation benefits, whether paid as weekly checks or settlements, are NEVER taxable.

Now that tax season is in full swing, we’ve been getting calls and questions from clients who are being told otherwise by tax preparers.

The IRS is very clear about this:

Amounts you receive as workers’ compensation for an occupational sickness or injury are fully exempt from tax if they are paid under a workers’ compensation act or a statute in the nature of a workers’ compensation act. The exemption also applies to your survivors. 

There’s a reason you didn’t receive a W2 or 1099 or any other type of tax document summarizing your workers’ compensations benefits for the last year. Those payments, including settlements, temporary total disability and ratings, ARE NOT taxable.

If you’ve heard the opposite from your accountant or tax preparer, please do not file your tax returns without first talking with another financial professional or someone who is familiar with your workers’ compensation case.

Lawmakers Ask for Federal Oversight of State Workers’ Comp Programs

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Ten powerful members of Congress, including Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, have asked the federal government to resume oversight and monitoring of workers’ compensation in the wake of drastic cuts to benefits for injured workers.

“State workers’ compensation laws are no longer providing adequate levels of support and compensation for workers injured on the job,” the lawmakers wrote. “The race to the bottom now appears to be nearly bottomless…”

Over the last decade, 33 states, including North Carolina, have cut workers’ compensation benefits, making it more difficult to qualify and giving employers more control over an injured workers’ medical care.

These so-called workers’ comp “reforms” have pushed many injured workers into poverty and have shifted the cost of caring for them to taxpayers, via Social Security Disability, Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps. Meanwhile, they have enriched insurances companies and big businesses.

The cuts in workers’ comp benefits coincide with the end of federal oversight and tracking of state-run programs.

Until 2004, the U.S. Department of Labor Department tracked changes in state workers’ comp laws and failures to meet 19 “minimum and essential standards for benefits” established by a 1972 commission created by President Richard Nixon.

Unchecked and without federal accountability for 11 years, many states have bowed to influence and pressure by insurance companies and big businesses and stripped injured workers of their rights and safety net.

The letter urged the federal agency Department to strengthen its oversight of state-run workers’ comp programs.

You can read the full text of the letter here.

According to a news report by NPR, the Labor Department said in a statement it shares the lawmakers’ concerns. “Every year injured workers and their families are bearing more and more of the cost of workplace injuries and illnesses.”

However, the agency did not outline a specific plan for addressing these issues but did indicate it will work “with stakeholders to find real solutions.”
The cuts to workers’ compensation programs in North Carolina and elsewhere will continue without strong, vocal opposition to the big business and insurance interests. We praise these lawmakers for standing up for injured people.

It’s important that we as citizens support and vote for candidates who support injured workers and stand up for their rights. Please remember that as you go to the polls.

Call N.C. Senators to Oppose Workers’ Comp Trucking Bill

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Out-of-state trucking companies want to push the cost of caring for injured truck drivers onto North Carolina taxpayers.

It’s just the latest effort by big business to destroy North Carolina’s workers’ compensation system and to gut benefits in favor of profits.

N.C. Senate Bill 205, which is currently being considered in committee but could soon be brought to a vote in the N.C. General Assembly, seeks to change how trucking companies and their employees are covered when they’re injured on the job. If this legislation passes, it puts injured truck drivers at real risk and will shift the expense of covering their injuries to taxpayers.

Truck driving is one of the most dangerous occupations; many of the injuries are catastrophic.

A little background on how N.C. workers’ compensation laws work in regards to truck drivers:

In 2003, state law was enacted to allow allow trucking companies to cover their independent contractors in a blanket workers’ compensation policy. The law allows trucking companies to charge back the costs of that coverage to drivers, giving independent contractors coverage in the event of a wreck or other work-related injury. The N.C. Trucking Association supported this legislation.

In 2006, the statute was amended to exempt mom-and-mom trucking companies from providing this type of workers’ comp coverage when they contract with an owner/operator drivers using their own truck. The amended law is a balanced provision resulting from hours of negotiation. It was fair to small mom-and-pop trucking companies and to owner-operator drivers.

Senate Bill 205 would extend the mom-and-pop exemption to practically any operator working for an independent trucker. It undercuts the idea that all truck drivers should be covered under workers’ compensation.

Large out-of-state trucking companies have for years made efforts to push their workers’ compensation obligations off onto drivers, sub-contractors or the public. One of the ways they have done this is to substitute inferior “occupational accident” policies for workers’ compensation.

That’s what they want to do with SB 205. But these occupational accident policies are largely unregulated, notoriously difficult to deal with when claims are filed, and have widely varying provisions for medical or wage replacement coverage. As a result the cost of caring for injured truckers is shifted from industry to taxpayers.

If this legislation passes, it would lead to the misclassification of truck drivers as independent contractors, instead of employees, and leave drivers largely unprotected.

As I mentioned before, SB 205 is in committee, and our best chance of defeating this bad legislation is to stop it there before it’s sent to the full N.C. General Assembly for a vote. With the crossover deadline looming, that could happen soon.

Please reach out to the following members of the Senate Judiciary 2 Committee and let them know SB 205 is a bad idea:

Co-chair Senator Tamara Barringer
Republican – District 17
(919) 733-5653

Co-chair Senator Warren Daniel
Republican – District 46
Burke, Cleveland
(919) 715-7823

Co-chair Senator Shirley B. Randleman
Republican – District 30
Stokes, Surry, Wilkes
(919) 733-5743

Senator Stan Bingham
Republican – District 33
Davidson, Montgomery
(919) 733-5665

Senator Andy Wells
Republican – District 42
Alexander, Catawba
(919) 733-5876

Senator John M. Alexander, Jr.
Republican – District 15
(919) 733-5850
(Alexander is president of Cardinal International Trucks, a truck sales company.)

Senator Chad Barefoot
Republican – District 18
Franklin, Wake
(919) 715-3036

Senator Bill Cook
Republican – District 1
Beaufort, Camden, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans
(919) 715-8293

Senator David L. Curtis
Republican – District 44
Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln
(919) 715-3038

Senator Joyce Krawiec
Republican – District 31
Forsyth, Yadkin
(919) 733-7850

Senator Jim Davis
Republican – District 50
Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Swain
(919) 733-5875

Senator Tom McInnis
Republican – District 25
Anson, Richmond, Rowan, Scotland, Stanly
(919) 733-5953

When you call these legislators, let them know that you are reaching out to oppose Senate Bill 205, which is in the Judiciary 2 committee. Urge them to not let big out of state trucking companies push the costs of injured drivers off on onto taxpayers.

Thanks for your prompt action on this important legislative issue.

Retailers, insurers funding campaign to gut workers’ comp benefits in NC, elsewhere

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Walmart, Lowe’s, Macy’s, Kohls and many of the nation’s largest retailers, insurers and corporations are bankrolling campaigns to change workers’ compensation laws and limit benefits nationwide. North Carolina is one of the next states they’re targeting.

According to a recent piece in Mother Jones, the corporations are funding the Association for Responsible Alternatives to Workers’ Compensation (ARAWC), a lobbying group. ARAWC wants to introduce so-called “reform” legislation that would allow companies to opt out of state-mandated workers’ comp programs through what’s called an “option.”

Rest assured, this option will limit injured workers’ benefits and their access to ongoing treatment for their injuries, while saving companies and their workers’ comp insurers millions.

“Employers that opt out would still be compelled to purchase workers’ comp plans,” according to the article. “But they would be allowed to write their own rules governing when, for how long, and for which reasons an injured employee can access medical benefits and wages.”

Only two states, Texas and Oklahoma, give employers the option of setting up their own workers’ comp plans, outside of the state system.  ARAWC has already helped write legislation to make an “option” the law in Tennessee, and the group’s executive director has said the goal is to change workers’ comp laws in every state.

These option plans do not provide the same protections and level of benefits for injured workers. 

Businesses can save millions of dollars by opting out and writing plans with narrow benefits, putting pressure on their competitors to do the same. “It creates a race to the bottom,” says Michael Clingman, a workers’ advocate in Oklahoma, which passed an opt-out measure in January 2014. The state’s oil and gas industry, along with major retailers, such as the craft store chain Hobby Lobby, pushed hard for the change—with help from a lobbyist, Steve Edwards, who now heads ARAWC’s legislative strategy. Dillard’s, a department store chain with 10 locations in Oklahoma, took advantage of the change by requiring workers to report injuries before the end of their shift to be eligible for workers’ comp. Walmart and Dillard’s declined to comment for this article.

We are expecting ARAWC to target North Carolina’s workers’ comp laws soon by introducing more “reform” legislation in the North Carolina General Assembly. ARAWC has already hired lobbyists in our state to push the “option” model with conservative legislators, according to Mother Jones. Since there’s a lot of money at stake, we expect a well-financed campaign to bring a workers’ comp “option” to North Carolina.

When that happens, you’ll probably hear the other side say that employer-run workers’ comp plans will mean less tape for injured workers, shorter wait times for benefits and better medical outcomes. 

But they’ll fail to tell you that you’ll likely be unable to see the doctor of your choice and that their plan won’t pay for things like artificial limbs, hearing aids, home care, funeral expenses, or disability modifications to a home or a car for injured workers. This type of plan is especially bad for workers who are severely hurt and with injuries that cause longterm health problems and complications.

The proposed Tennessee “option” legislation would allow employers to stop paying workers’ comp benefits after only three years, even if the injured worker needs continuing medical treatment and cannot return to work.

We’ll continue to monitor this situation in North Carolina and tell you what you can do to protect workers’ rights here.


Hospitals Fail to Protect Nurses from Injuries

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You probably don’t think of nursing as a dangerous profession.

But each year, more than 35,000 nurses, orderlies and nurses assistants suffer back and arm injuries that are serious enough that they have to miss work, according to surveys from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

A recent NPR series found that nursing employees “suffer roughly three times the rate of back and other musculoskeletal injuries as construction laborers,” all in the course of their everyday job duties — lifting and moving patients.

These are not minor injuries, but life changing ones that may require multiple surgeries and a cocktail of prescription drugs and pain medications. Many injured nurses lose their careers because of their injuries and will endure chronic pain and mobility issues for the rest of their lives.

Research has shown that there’s no safe way for nurses to move patients manually without risking serious injury to themselves. 

“The bottom line is, there’s no safe way to lift a patient manually,” William Marras, director of The Ohio State University’s Spine Research Institute, which has conducted landmark studies on the issue, told NPR “The magnitude of these forces that are on your spine are so large that the best body mechanics in the world are not going to keep you from getting a back problem.”

Yet hospitals continue to stress the same safe patient handling techniques and protocols when there’s a better solution that would prevent a majority of back and arm injuries in nurses. There is equipment available to help nurses move patients safely, without risk of injury, but few hospitals are wiling to invest money in these lifts, hoists and other devices, NPR found.

And only 10 states have comprehensive programs specifically designed to protect nursing staff at hospitals. North Carolina is not one of them.


 One of the nurses profiled in the NPR series worked at Asheville’s Mission Hospital. Though her injury clearly happened on the job, the hospital tried to deny her workers’ compensation benefits by claiming it happened while she was at home. You can listen to that story here

Listen to the full NPR series about nurses and workplace injuries here.

The Financial Toll of a Workplace Injury

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More on how workers’ compensation in America is broken and driving people into poverty, this time from The Washington Post.

Getting hurt on the job is especially financially crippling for low-wage workers and Latinos, who have “disproportionately high injury rates,” and when they are hurt those ” injuries can slice 15 percent off a person’s earnings over 10 years after the accident,” according to the Post and an analysis of a Department of Labor report on occupational injuries and wage inequality.

According to the Post:

There are two main components to the financial implications of a workplace injury. The first is the legal status of the people getting injured. A staggering number of workers in the construction industry are misclassified as independent contractors, which means they’re not entitled to workers’ compensation payments. Also, more of them are employees of temporary staffing agencies, who tend to be less well-trained and less likely to report their injuries. Businesses will often contract out their most dangerous work, which allows them to keep their own workers’ compensation premiums to a minimum. 

The second component is the degradation of workers’ compensation programs themselves. That issue is addressed by a report ProPublica and NPR, which looks at how employers have lobbied states to get out of paying as much as they used to in workers’ compensation, leaving injured workers with inadequate treatment.

You can read the full Washington Post article HERE and the NPR report on so-called workers’ compensation “reform” HERE, as well as my take on it HERE.