Rochester Chamber Conference Focuses on Workers’ Compensation

In its 2016 public policy survey, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce members listed high Workers’ Compensation costs as their number five concern about doing business in New York State.  As part of its ongoing work in this area, the Rochester Chamber Workers’ Compensation Committee, made up of members in the business, health care, not-for-profit, and other sectors, hosted a conference to educate employers on ways to control costs and to get involved in Workers’ Comp reform.

“We need to get employers involved however we can,” said Rochester Chamber Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy Chris Wiest.  “High Workers’ Compensation costs continue to be one of the issues we hear the most about from our members.  We need their voice as we work on reform efforts.  The survey we conducted this summer had over 200 employers participate and provided information on just how damaging high Workers’ Compensation costs have been to employers.  The conference focused on what’s driving costs as well as best practices and information to help employers better manage their Workers’ Comp program.”

New York State Workers’ Compensation Board Executive Director Mary Beth Woods delivered the keynote address at the conference.  Woods said she often hears from employers that Workers’ Compensation costs are an immense burden on their business. 

Woods said, “We understand that workers’ comp costs are significant for your members.  We are trying to understand how we can best help them to deal with Workers’ Comp costs and make their businesses thrive.  We understand and we are working to try to find creative ways, legislative ways, and administrative ways to try to bring those costs down.”

Wegmans Food Markets Senior Manager of Claims Brian Trick chairs the Rochester Chamber Workers’ Compensation Committee.  Trick said Workers’ Compensation is a large expense for Wegmans and something the company looks at every day to try and control.

Trick said, “Workers’ Comp costs are troubling to employers.  It’s the number five biggest concern for employers.  That’s a big thing because lowering costs is what’s going to keep jobs in Rochester and New York State.”

Zotos International Senior Human Resources Manager Mary Turcotte said her company also feels the pinch.

Turcotte said, “Workers’ Comp costs have escalated and of course that’s contributed to the increased cost of doing business.  I came to the conference to find out what we can do to curtail those costs or become smarter and better at handling these types of costs.”

The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Workers’ Compensation Committee focuses on advocacy, education and employer engagement on important workers’ compensation issues.  The committee, formed in 1993, has 25 members and is a leading voice for employers on the workers’ compensation front.

To learn more about the Rochester Chamber Workers’ Compensation Committee and to get involved in its work on reform, contact Chris Wiest at Chris.Wiest@GreaterRochesterChamber.com or 585.256.4626.