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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Vote Yes on I-1082: A Monopoly by Any Other Name… Still Stinks

Posted by on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 10:29 AM

(This guest Slog post is by Erin Shannon, public relations director for the Building Industries Association of Washington [BIAW]. The voters' guide has more information about Initiative 1082 here.)

Yeah, we get it. The Stranger hates the BIAW because we support conservative candidates and sometimes say outrageous shit that no one else has the guts to say.

In fact, all the Stranger Election Control Board had to say about Initiative 1082 was that the “conservative fucks” at BIAW wrote it. Booga-booga. Vote no.

We know you’re only reading this out of morbid curiosity to see what crazy things we’re going to say next. Not that you’re at all interested in the facts; you’ve already made up your mind about us and Initiative 1082.

So why don’t we just let The SECB make the case for us?

Here’s what you do. Re-read the I-1100 endorsement in “Vote, Baby, Vote!” but replace “liquor” with “workers’ compensation insurance” and “beer industry” with “trial lawyers.” Here, we’ll get you started and throw in a few of our favorite lines from that screed:

Every year for the past [20+] years, lawmakers in Olympia made a choice. They could pass a bill before them to… fix the problems with the workers’ compensation insurance monopoly, or they could keep the system we have. The current system looks like this: Liquor Workers’ compensation insurance is only sold at a state-run store… in an homage to East Germany...

Lawmakers kept that idiotic system.

Why? The short story is that unions representing the employees in liquor stores the workers’ compensation insurance monopoly intimidated lawmakers into maintaining an inefficient status quo. So since the end of Prohibition, our liquor workers’ compensation insurance outlets have been difficult to get to and frequently run out of products money, inconveniencing bar and restaurant and other small business owners and underscoring how mindfuckingly stupid it is for the state to hold a monopoly over one industry.

You're going to hear a lot of arguments about why you should vote no... Those arguments all come from the state Democratic machine that was too lazy to fix the broken liquor workers’ compensation insurance system for the past [20+] years and the beer industry trial lawyers bankrolling its opposition campaign.

If you want to see what the anti-liquor workers’ compensation insurance initiative campaign is really all about, follow the money.

Most of that dough comes from the… trade association of major brewers trial lawyers. Their official arguments are bullshit. They oppose these initiatives because they want to protect the profits of beer megacorporations trial lawyers.

Anyone who tells you that the legislature will pass a better law on its own or that a party who doesn't have a financial stake in privatizing liquor workers’ compensation insurance will run a better initiative next year is lying to you. The legislature will never act, and someone's bound to turn a profit when the state gets out of a business it sucks at running and never should have been in to begin with. This is our best chance to shed a crappy system. There's plenty of opportunity to fine-tune the improved system in the next few years. Vote yes on I-1082.


Comments (31) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
The Stranger SECB is fun to read, but just as suspect as any other for/against arguments available. By opening their space to dissenting opinions such as this it adds to their integrity as journalists, and makes me stoked. Keep it up!
Posted by tabski on October 21, 2010 at 10:34 AM · Report this
Rujax! 2
Would this arguement be credible if it was coming from anyone other than the admittedly(?!) batshit-crazy uber right-wing BIAW?


You get points for trying though.
Posted by Rujax! on October 21, 2010 at 10:35 AM · Report this
Stopped reading at "Not that you’re at all interested in the facts; you’ve already made up your mind about us and Initiative 1082."

Well I sure have now, fuckstick! You know me so fucking well.
Posted by Ben on October 21, 2010 at 10:39 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 4
So liquor and worker's compensation insurance are equivalent concepts. Good to know.
Posted by MacCrocodile on October 21, 2010 at 10:40 AM · Report this
Jaymz 5
Here's a thought: An employer is not required to buy alcohol but an employer is required to buy workers compensation insurance. If the cost of gin goes up, don't buy gin - not the same with workers compensation. The competing insurance companies are driven by profits and the non-payment of claims (legitimate or not) will increase those profits. The State may be slow and stupid, but at least the State is a "pass-through" system where the cost of the coverage does not include profit.
Posted by Jaymz on October 21, 2010 at 10:41 AM · Report this
Clever, but still moronic. If you think Sloggers are going to like you because you're not afraid to use profanity in your posts, you're wrong. Ending the state's liquor monopoly is completely different than letting private insurance companies take over worker's comp without any rules in place, and it's insulting that you would even compare the two. Convenience stores selling liquor will not hurt our citizens the way allowing AIG to deny or delay indefinitely legitimate worker's claims will.
Posted by MER on October 21, 2010 at 10:43 AM · Report this
Clever, but still moronic. If you think Sloggers are going to like you just because you're not afraid to use profanity in your posts, you're wrong. Ending the state's liquor monopoly is completely different than letting private insurance companies take over worker's comp without any rules in place, and it's insulting that you would even compare the two. Convenience stores selling liquor will not hurt our citizens the way allowing AIG to deny or delay indefinitely legitimate worker's claims will.
Posted by RME on October 21, 2010 at 10:44 AM · Report this
Farbe 8
Erin - Substitute "brains" for "guts" in your second paragraph and you will have an insight on why it is easy to "hate" on BIAW. Your organization does say and do some really outrageous shit but it has nothing to do with fortitude or any other positive character traits.

For you VOTERS: if you like the way health insurance in general is structured and operated here in the good ole' USA then voting yes on 1082 is for you. This state's industrial insurance operation has some real flaws but it is nothing compared to what it will look like if greed heads in the private insurance business get their hands on it.
Posted by Farbe on October 21, 2010 at 10:46 AM · Report this
I found Eric's post to be extremely persuasive myself:

I am totally voting no on I-1100 now.
Posted by Likely Voter on October 21, 2010 at 10:47 AM · Report this
Hernandez 10
Others (like @5) will point out the clear problems with equating worker's compensation insurance to liquor sales, but to pile on, here's my analogy:

Yes, I have made up my mind about the BIAW and the things they endorse, the same way I've made up my mind about Tim Eyman and the intitiatives he fields. Their history and reputations give me no reason to trust a single goddamn word they say.
Posted by Hernandez on October 21, 2010 at 10:49 AM · Report this
Presently, if you are injured on the job, your medical needs are covered. If the Fascists of the BIAW have their way, your broken body will be thrown out with the trash.
Now, make your decision.
Posted by Pol Pot on October 21, 2010 at 10:51 AM · Report this
Fact is, there is nothing particularly wrong with the current system at all, other than that certain Fascist party members don't seem to like it. Why? Because if there is anything the elitist, rightwing in America hates, it's having to pay even the most nominal fees or taxes for the benefit of the common good. If you want to see the face of anti-Americanism, find a picture of Erin.
Posted by Pol Pot on October 21, 2010 at 10:58 AM · Report this
I figure I'd throw in my two cents here. The scary part about 1082 is the simple fact that it takes a non-profit system that puts workers first and turns it into a for profit system that puts profits over people. The fine folks at BIAW fail to tell you how those profits come about. Letting the insurance companies take over workers compensation means letting those companies subject Washington's workers to the same insurance company tactics that led to the passage of R-67, the Insurance Fair Conduct Act.

The insurance companies are concerned with one thing: Profit. To get there, they will delay payment of claims, delay treatment, and deny claims that they otherwise should pay. This is a no-brainer. I-1082 hurts Washington workers. It benefits the insurance industry.
Posted by MT148 on October 21, 2010 at 10:58 AM · Report this
TacomaRoma 14
Posted by TacomaRoma on October 21, 2010 at 10:58 AM · Report this
picaroon 15
The Republican Party in Washington is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BIAW.

Why is that? I mean, I understand a state's big industry (think coal or tobacco) seizing one or both parties. But is the development industry in Washington really that prominent of an industry? Are a few developers here just ardent ideologues? I guess one theory might be that they have a long term strategy to overturn sensible growth laws or increase subsidies for sprawl. But I don't know. It's a strange situation.
Posted by picaroon on October 21, 2010 at 11:00 AM · Report this
Complete bullshit comparison. They are backing this initiative to further promote their conservative cause. Cosco is doing it as a business.. oh wait... I see the comparison now. Tell you what, if the BIAW sends me a bottle of Makers Mark every week I'll vote for this initiative. Otherwise, there isn't anything in it for the average Joe and it isn't about making things better.
Posted by Bean on October 21, 2010 at 11:04 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 17
ms. shannon, that was surprisingly curse-wordy for the representative of a conservative business lobby group.
Posted by Max Solomon on October 21, 2010 at 11:11 AM · Report this
-@13 Bingo. What galls the BIAW about the current system is that they are unable to profit from the misery of others.
Posted by Pol Pot on October 21, 2010 at 11:12 AM · Report this
Geni 19
This initiative is just one in a series of desperate attempts by the BIAW to keep that gravy train a-rollin'. Why are they pushing this initiative?

Because their profits from the very lucrative business of consolidating, processing and handling workers' comp claims for their members are in danger. See, the BIAW gets 100% of their money from the state - basically, if workers' comp claim amounts are less than premiums, the state refunds the difference to the builders. The BIAW skims 20% of what is refunded to their builder members as their fee, which amounted to $5 million in 2004. They then turned around and spent $1 million of that money - money which is supposed to be promoting workplace safety - on political advertising for Republican candidates. They're basically a Republican front organization.

Governor Locke tried to reduce their fees from 20% to a maximum of 10% by executive fiat, but the courts overturned him, telling him that he didn't have the authority to set those fees, that was the legislature's prerogative. In February 2004, two bills were introduced - House Bill 1875 and Senate Bill 5842 - to restrict how the workers' comp refunds could be spent. The list includes safety education, risk management and legal expenses — but not politics. To enforce the restrictions, the legislation would require the state Department of Labor and Industries to periodically audit association records. The BIAW would still be free to conduct political activities under the auspices of their PAC, to which members contribute voluntarily, but it's very likely they'd have a lot less money to use in their ugly mudslinging campaigning.

Well, guess who's in control of both branches of the legislature now? Democrats now hold both the state House and Senate. The BIAW doesn't have a friendly Governor sitting in Olympia to veto the bill that's going to take their lucrative kickbacks away from them. They are in real danger of losing their gravy train. They want to gut all building restrictions, environmental protections, worker protections. They know a Democratic legislature is never going to permit that.

Builders and contractors don't have to use the BIAW for claims processing. They can use other organizations, like the Master Builders Association, for that purpose. No other organization takes the percentage the BIAW does in kickbacks, and no other organization is so overtly hostile to worker or environmental protection legislation.

Posted by Geni on October 21, 2010 at 11:16 AM · Report this
Jenny from the Block 20
@5 and @10 have already made my points for me.

Not all "monopolies" are equal.
Posted by Jenny from the Block on October 21, 2010 at 11:17 AM · Report this
You know what never fails to offer the public a better value for their dollar and more efficient management of crucial services? Privatization.

Remember how awesome it was when energy deregulation allowed Enron to bring their incredible private-sector management expertise to the formerly government-monopolized utility market? This would be even more awesome than that.
Posted by Proteus on October 21, 2010 at 11:18 AM · Report this
@17, Ms. Shannon seems to think that acting like a barroom brawler makes her look tough. It's always just made her look unprofessional to me. And it says so much about the BIAW that this is their public face.

Master Builders, please. I wouldn't let the BIAW near a dollhouse.
Posted by House of cards on October 21, 2010 at 11:29 AM · Report this
Hey, I sort of agree with the BIAW's argument here. As a socialist who has seen privatization destroy pretty much everything it gets its hands on, I voted against 1082, 1100, and 1105. Glad to see I made the right decision!
Posted by Cow on October 21, 2010 at 11:31 AM · Report this
If the conservative fucks at BIAW were going to profit off of liquor sales to fund ballot initiatives to undo growth management, transit funding and clean water laws, I'd vote against it, too. Vote No! On I-1082. Don't let a PAC of far right fucks continue funding their evil political schemes through our worker's comp system.
Posted by Transpo guy on October 21, 2010 at 11:35 AM · Report this
Wow. So since you assume I don't want facts (incorrectly) you won't share any. That's insanely stupid.

Just like the liquor initiatives both sides have big money funding. Beer vs lic & costco... Trial lawyers vs Biaw... The "booga booga" factor, as you so eloquently put it, cancels.

Then you decide state liquor and state insurance are perfectly analogous. Which I suppose a dogmatic idealogue way accept (government BAD!), but others like to go case by case, you know looking at facts.

And finally, the stranger post you co-opted frankly, is dumb and wrong. It too is dogmatic, fails to properly cancel it's "booga" and ultimately has the sole valid point of convenience. Which is apparently supposed to trump safety and budget issues.

Sigh. Facts would have been great, but no one ever seems to use them.
Posted by I swear I have facts, but I'm not telling on October 21, 2010 at 12:58 PM · Report this
Garfield 26
I was already planning on voting no on 1082. Only an insurance exec would benefit from that fiasco. Erin just talked me into voting no on 1100 & 1105 too. Thanks, Erin!
Posted by Garfield on October 21, 2010 at 1:32 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 27
Totally bat shit crazy BIAW.

And I'm an expert on that.
Posted by Will in Seattle on October 21, 2010 at 1:44 PM · Report this
JF 28
It's amazing to me how people just fall right in line.
Posted by JF on October 21, 2010 at 2:03 PM · Report this
sloegin 29
Too many of my damn tax dollars are already finding their way into the pockets of the BIAW without voting for the kickback-infested 1082.

Eff the effin BIAW. If they want to politic in this state, let them do it on their own damn dime.
Posted by sloegin on October 21, 2010 at 2:07 PM · Report this
DeaconBlues 30
There is a good point to be made about I-1100 here; it's really not a very good piece of legislation.

1082 is probably the worst initiative on the ballot this year, though.
Posted by DeaconBlues on October 21, 2010 at 3:44 PM · Report this
watchout5 31
Nothing about the wall of text you created gives me any information about anything, I leave this article feeling like I know even less about whatever you were trying to say. At least when the SECB made their pitch they started with a fact, "the BIAW wrote this law", that's one more fact than you have. You make videos about raping and complain about monopolies, but nothing else. When you're dealing with a physical object like liquor, where you can create and sell it, complaining about a monopoly makes sense. When you're talking about investments meant to compensate workers for lost wages, getting injured, or whatever other bullshit employers try to pin on workers, it's better to have an arbiter that isn't paid for by your employer. Maybe this doesn't make sense to you because you work for a bunch of assholes paying you to write nice things about them, but when real people do real work for real companies in the real world, not some kind of political fantasy land of freedom and choice, shit happens. And when shit happens the last person I want to talk to is someone on the payroll of my boss when it comes to a dispute. You're just sick of people getting hurt and then demanding compensation you have to pay for, and you'd rather pay less. Your greed does nothing here.
Posted by watchout5 on October 22, 2010 at 12:48 AM · Report this

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