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WORKERS' COMPENSATION REFORM COMPROMISE URGED

 WORKERS' COMPENSATION REFORM COMPROMISE URGED
 HARRISBURG, Pa., May 21 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of business and


employer organizations today urged preservation of compromise reforms for the state's workers' compensation system approved Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Senate.
 "Progress on this issue so far has been difficult and required much bi-partisan give and take. We've come too far and given too much to lose the opportunity for any of the much-needed improvements in the system," said Ernest P. Kline. "Opponents of this compromise are unfairly characterizing is contents. They have either failed to read it thoroughly or are deliberately misleading the members of the General Assembly. The administrative reforms are desperately needed to get workers' benefits faster and more efficiently, and the rating component is fashioned after Maryland, a plan the governor himself has called effective," Kline said.
 Kline is a legislative coordinator for a group of large and small business interests, the insurance industry, and a number of Pennsylvania trade associations which has been analyzing the state's workers compensation system for more than a year. Participants include the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, National Federation of Independent Business, Professional Insurance Agents Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association and others.
 Action by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is expected in early June before the measures go to Gov. Robert P. Casey.
 In a related statement Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Robert J. Mellow (D-Lackawanna) criticized AFL-CIO responses to the Senate action.
 "Emotional rhetoric falsely painting a historic compromise on workers' compensation as damaging to workers will not help in the difficult struggle to improve the state's economic climate so jobs are created," Mellow said.
 "It is a personal affront for labor interests to attack my actions, which have long been supported by the best voting record in the Senate on labor's behalf. It is a greater irony that labor sees 'public outrage over special interests dominating the democratic legislative process' while it tries to preserve the out-of-control status quo which is truly killing chances for employment expansion," Mellow said.
 Mellow developed reform compromises with Sen. Roger A. Madigan (R-Bradford), chairman of the Senate Labor and Industry Committee.
 "Everything we have done is aimed at improving the efficiency of the system and reducing costs without cutting back on any of the care or compensation an injured worker is entitled to," Madigan said.
 Madigan said reform need is critical because many employers consider workers' compensation insurance costs as a factor in continuing to do business in Pennsylvania. Failure to contain skyrocketing costs of the system would mean a serious loss of jobs in Pennsylvania which is "something we simply cannot afford," Madigan said.
 /delval/
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 /CONTACT: Ernest P. Kline of Kline & Knopf, 717-234-1594, or Guy Read of Maddigan Communications, Inc., in Pittsburgh, 412-391-9360/ CO: ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU: ECO


DM-BR -- PG007 -- 2797 05/21/92 11:48 EDT
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Date:May 21, 1992
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