In a joint statement, the Illinois AFL-CIO and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association criticized the Illinois Chamber of Commerce over the Chamber’s report on alleged flaws in the state’s workers’ compensation program.
The statement said that the Chamber’s report misrepresents facts and is part of a campaign to “dismantle” the workers’ compensation system.
The report criticized specific judges for court decisions that resulted in higher payments to injured workers. The Chamber alleged that these decisions hurt the state’s economy and limited some of the benefits expected by recent reform of the workers’ compensation system. The Chamber also blamed Illinois’ high workers’ compensation insurance premium on the judicial decisions cited in the report.
The AFL-CIO and ITLA pointed out that the cases the Chamber criticized predate the current reforms, and that the reforms have reduced insurance rates by more than $315 million per year, or 14.1 percent. Their statement also suggested that if employers are not saving on insurance, then the insurance companies must be keeping the profits.
The statement also said that the Chamber’s report amounted to “cherry picking,” as the cases criticized in the report represent less than one percent of workers’ comp cases disposed of by the Appellate and Supreme courts.