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NFL tackles Illinois workers comp bill




SPRINGFIELD – National Football League players are organizing to oppose a bill proposed in the Illinois General Assembly. From NPR's "All Things Considered":

[Illinois is] the only state in the union where professional athletes can claim a workers' compensation wage differential until the age of 67… Here's what it means.

In Illinois, if you get injured on the job and you're forced to take a lower-paying job, workers' comp law says you can collect about two thirds of the difference between what you made before the injury and after. That's the wage differential. Illinois allows injured workers to claim it until the age of 67. That's considered the average end to a working life – most working lives.

State Senator Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) is sponsoring Senate Bill 12, which singles out pro athletes. The bill says that since professional football players don't work in their jobs until 67, the state wants to stop paying workers compensation wage differential until they are 67.

Radogno's proposed measure would say, according to a recent "All Things Considered" interview: "We'll pay until you're 35. The major pro sports teams in Illinois, all in Chicago, wrote a letter supporting the bill and noting that pro athletes in the NFL, NBA, baseball and hockey play on average three to five years.

This means many are done well before 35, which makes the proposed cutoff at 35 seem kind of generous until you talk to the NFL Players Association. The NFLPA hates Senate Bill 12. Remember, football players are very likely to get injured and need workers' comp.

George Attalah, a union exec, says, "Let's just call it what it is. They are trying to set a limit on the ability of professional athletes to gain and earn a benefit for an injury that they suffered at work. And that's not something that, frankly, the union takes kindly to."

The rest of the interview is HERE.


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