After a long struggle and much legislative effort by the New York Workers' Compensation Alliance and the New York State AFL-CIO, Governor Pataki signed the >9/11 Rescue and First Responders Workers' Compensation bill yesterday at the foot of the former World Trade Center site. In addition to the Governor, Sheldon Silver, Joe Bruno, John Marchi, George Maziarz, Jonathan Bing, Susan John, and their fellow legislators deserve tremendous thanks for their compassion and support. The signing of the new 9/11 workers' compensation law received international media attention.
Unfortunately, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, in a Scrooge-like statement, blasted the new benefits. Quoting Scrooge in Dicken's immortal Christmas Carol, one might think that Mayor Bloomberg would like Ground Zero workers to "die and decrease the surplus population!". Sorry Mike - your a good Mayor, but your on the wrong side of this issue.
All in all, the Workers' Compensation Alliance had a good year. We stopped the nasty, anti- worker changes advocated by the New York Business Council, the insurance cartel, and even rogue upstate Democrat Joseph Morrelle. We promoted and helped pass a law that will help 9/11 heroes and their families deal with chronic illness. We were invited and testified at a Senate Roundtable in Albany on Workers' Compensation Reform. We helped block the nomination of a new Workers' Compensation Board Chairman with an exclusive insurance company pedigree, and instead got a new Chairwoman, Donna Ferrara, of moderate Long Island Republican pro-labor stock. Not bad for an organization that did not officially exist until last year. Bottom Line - the members of the New York Workers' Compensation Alliance represent well over 150,000 injured workers across New York State and we are ready to mobilize them at a moments notice to protect their right to fair compensation and medical care!.