Symposium on 40th Anniversary of the National Commission on State Workmen’s Compensation Laws

Symposium on 40th Anniversary of the National Commission on State Workmen’s Compensation Laws

Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group® Presents A Symposium on The 40th Anniversary of the National Commission on State Workmen’s Compensation Laws

July 26, 2012 – Hilton Hotel, Chicago

9:00 am—5:00 pm

Reception Following

RSVP by 7/13/12 / 614-940-7979

Note - Door Registrations Will Not Be Permitted


The National Commission on State Workmen’s Compensation Laws (NCSWCL) submitted its Report to Congress and to the President in July 1972. The National Commission, whose members were appointed by the Nixon Administration, described state workers’ compensation laws as “in general neither adequate nor equitable;” made 84 recommendations for a modern workers’ compensation program; designated 19 of the recommendations as essential; and recommended that Congress enact federal standards to guarantee compliance with the 19 essential recommendations if the states did not quickly improve their laws. The Report resulted in a “Reformation Period” that lasted almost a decade when most states significantly improved their laws to avoid the federal standards unanimously recommended by the National Commission.

The reform movement was at eventide during the 1980s, and then the “Counter Reformation Period” began in the early 1990s and continues until 2012 with no signs of ebbing. Workers’ compensation benefits have been curtailed and compensability rules have been tightened in a distressing variety of ways.

What should be done to restore the vision of adequate and equitable state workers’ compensation programs envisaged by the National Commission? And what can be done to restore that vision for workers’ compensation at the federal and state levels? The WILG Symposium provides hard issues but promises no easy solutions.


Session I (9:15—10:45 am)

The National Commission: Origins, Operation, Impact, and Lessons

Panel Members

John F. Burton, Jr., Panel Moderator, Chairman, NCSWCL, and Professor Emeritus,

Rutgers University and Cornell University

Peter S. Barth, Executive Director, NCSWCL and Professor Emeritus, University of Connecticut

John Lewis, Associate Executive Director and General Counsel, NCSWCL

Session II (11:00 am—12:00 pm)

Workers’ Compensation: Developments Since 1990: An Overview

Panel Members

Jim Ellenberger, Panel Moderator, Former AFL-CIO Workers’ Compensation Staff Expert

Ishita Sengupta, Director of Workers’ Compensation, National Academy of Social Insurance

Emily Spieler, Dean and Professor, School of Law, Northeastern University

Keynote Speaker (TBA)

Luncheon (12:00—1:30 pm)

Session III (1:30—2:45 pm)

Workers’ Compensation Since 1990: The Gruesome Details

Matthew Dake, IA, Moderator

Linda Reinstein, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization

Virginia Ruiz, Farmworkers Justice

Gerry Rosenthal, FL

Session IV (3:00—5:00 pm)

Workers’ Compensation: The Future of Workers’ Compensation

Until the 50th Anniversary of the NCSWCL: Reform or Regression?

Todd O’Malley, PA, Moderator

Richard J. Swanson, IN, WILG Federal Legislative Chair

Nick Walters, Acting Regional Administrator, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor

Kim Bobo, Executive Director, Interfaith Worker Justice

Hon. David B. Torrey, Pennsylvania Dept. of Labor & Industry (Invited)