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Reported suicides of injured workers mark 'crisis' in Workers' Comp system, charge Green Party candidates, who call for firing of Dept. of Insurance fraud chief for 'bias'

GREEN PARTY OF CALIFORNIA NEWS RELEASE

SACRAMENTO (August 3, 2006) - Reported suicides of injured Californian workers because of failures in the Workers' Compensation system led Green Party candidates for state office to call for major reforms - and the firing of a key department chief.

Green Party Insurance Commissioner candidate Larry Cafiero and Green Party gubernatorial candidate Peter Camejo joined disabled workers at a rally - sponsored by California Coalition For Workers Memorial Day - at the Insurance Commissioner's office this week to call for needed and immediate changes in the system.

Legislation in 2004, sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans at the behest of the insurance injury - a major contributor to the campaigns of the major parties, has been branded by critics as a major reason those injured on the job do not receive care needed.

"That legislation has led to a crisis in Workers' Compensation and is now bearing a bitter fruit for injured workers, while insurance companies reap a lush harvest of increased profits," said Cafiero, who has been extremely critical of current Lt. Governor and Insurance Commissioner candidate Cruz Bustamante (D) for receiving large contributions from the insurance industry.

Cafiero said a primary example of the bias in the system against workers and for business is the California Fraud Assessment Commission (CFAC), which is chaired by a corporate executive who oversees insurance needs of an employer.

"Under William Zachry, who works for Safeway, the CFAC has displayed favoritism to insurance companies and employers over injured workers. Even Zachry's own employer, Safeway, has benefitted from his commission's decisions," charged Cafiero.

He said Zachry should be immediately "removed" from his position from the CFAC, noting that the "conflict of interest is unacceptable at any level in the Dept. of Insurance, and must not be tolerated either by this administration or the next Insurance Commissioner."

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Contacts:
Crescenzo Vellucci, State Press Office, 916.996.9170,
Sara Amir (Los Angeles), 310.270.7106,
Dr. Bob Vizzard (Sacramento), 916.206.8953,
Daniel Brezenoff (Southern California), 310.422.2211,
Susan King (San Francisco), 415.823.5524,

The Green Party of California
PO Box 2828
Sacramento, CA 95812
Phone: (916) 448-3437
Web: http://www.cagreens.org
EMail:

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