You're currently reading an archived version of Jim Hightower's work.
The latest (and greatest?) observations from Jim Hightower are only now available at our Substack website. Join us there!
When you come across a corporate lobbying group claiming to be pushing “Responsible Alternatives to Such-and-Such,” you can rightly assume that it’s really pushing something totally irresponsible, as well as malicious, self-serving, and even disgusting.
That’s the case of ARAWC – the Association for Responsible Alternatives to Workers’ Compensation. Mother Jones magazine reports that this is a front group funded by hugely-profitable retail chains and other corporate behemoths that want to weasel out of compensating employees who suffer injuries at work. By law, corporations in nearly every state must carry workers’ comp insurance, but the ARAWC lobbying combine is pressuring legislators to allow the giants to opt-out of the state benefit plans and instead substitute their own, highly-restricted set of benefits.
Enjoying Hightower's work? Join us over at our new home on Substack:
What a deal! But it’s a raw deal for injured workers. In Texas, which already has this write-it-yourself loophole, more than half of the corporate plans – get this – pay nothing to the families of workers who’re killed in job accidents! Similarly, under an ARAWC-written opt-out provision that a Tennessee senator sponsored this year, employers wouldn’t have to cover artificial limbs, home care, or even funeral expenses of on-the-job accident victims.
Also, the Tennessee bill lets a company simply walk away from maimed workers after just three years, or after paying only $300,000 in expenses. Corporations always claim to “value” their employees – and this tells us exactly how little that value is.
By the way, the CEO of ARAWC also happens to be the head of “risk management” at the mingiest of workplaces: Walmart. And that’s what this opt-out scam amounts to – corporate profiteers hoping they can manage to escape paying for risking the lives of America’s workforce.
“Walmart, Lowe’s, Safeway, and Nordstrom Are Bankrolling a Nationwide Campaign to Gut Workers’ Comp,” www.motherjones.com, March 26, 2015.