For every worker's compensation claim filed in Ohio, 150 are logged in West Virginia, according to officials of the Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp., who talked to the state legislative leaders last Tuesday.
Invited to discuss ways the state could bring in new business, the top officials of big metal manufacturers said "fix the worker's comp system." Unfortunately, they were more adept at identifying the problem than at proposing solutions.
It's unlikely that there is any way the system can be quickly repaired, due to its $1.9 billion deficit. To deal with that, the legislature reorganized worker's comp in 1995, setting up a 40-year plan to pay off its debt and making it more difficult for workers to sustain claims of permanent and total disability.
Now some lawmakers want to revisit those reforms to either reduce the premiums business pays, or making it easier for injured workers to get disability pay. It's a classic labor-management confrontation that will probably lead to legislative gridlock. Let us suggest another possibility.