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Brooklyn, N.Y., protest

'Workers' Comp doesn't work'

By Judi Cheng

About 50 demonstrators protested outside the Workers' Compensation Board in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Dec. 8. They included Chinatown work ers from garment factories, transit, construction, asbestos removal and others who have been injured on the job.

They charged the Workers' Compensation Board with corruption and neglect of injured workers' right to adequate and timely compensation.

Commonly, claims for compensation and medical treatment are denied to workers until they can prove that the injury was work-related. The burden of this proof is on the worker.

The employers' insurance companies automatically challenge 98 percent of all workers' claims. Typically it takes anywhere from three to six years to resolve a case.

Protesters chanted: "Broke my back the other day. Workers' Comp said go away."

Krzysztof Dobrowolski and other injured workers spoke at the rally. Dobrowolski was a demolition worker who fell through a roof and suffered head and back injuries. Suffering from seizures and chronic pain, he has been unable to work since his accident in 1994.

After five years, the WCB decided against his claim and closed his case.

The demonstrators called for a workers' commission to investigate the insurance companies and the WCB. The demonstration was organized by the National Mobilization Against Sweatshops.

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