I’ve had a few readers send me an article written by Patrick Springer of the Fargo Forum. Yesterday, Springer’s article, “Firefighter’s battle turns from catastrophic stroke to workers’ comp cuts” left many people angry and shaking their heads. Springer has done great work covering Workforce Safety and Insurance (WSI) over the years, and this article is another example. Take a moment to read it.
You wanted my take? Here it is. WSI needs a complete overhaul. An overhaul that aligns more closely with North Dakota’s values of taking care of our neighbors in tough times. We host spaghetti feeds, motorcycle rides, and jump in a combine to help a neighbor take off the rest of their crop when they’re in need here. Shouldn’t our institutions reflect that? Instead, WSI continues to put their bottom line above necessary care for injured workers. This didn’t happen by accident.
The system was crafted this way by legislators who want to keep in the good graces of business lobbyists. “Boy, if I vote to eliminate coverage for this type of injury I might get recognized by this organization in their yearly magazine!” In turn, the business lobbyists along with WSI can send out press releases boasting about North Dakota having the lowest worker’s compensation premiums in the nation. It is great to be business friendly as a state, but at what cost to our workers? We need a balance.
Unfortunately, you shouldn’t expect that balance to happen anytime soon. Doug Burgum has decided to keep Brian Klipfel from the Dalrymple administration as his cabinet choice to continue overseeing WSI.