Should Union Janitorial Employers have a lower Workers’ Compensation rate than Non-Union Employers?

Author Jeremy Hoolihan, CRIS, Janitorial Group Leader Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

A recent study by the Commission on Health, Safety and Workers’ Compensation made an argument that the janitorial industry should be split into two workers’ compensation class codes.  This change would be similar to how many construction operations field class codes are separated between an over and under dollar amount per hourly wage.   As an example, an electrical contractor’s field wages are split at over and under $30/hour.  Why does this matter? It matters, because the workers’ compensation marketplace perceives the higher-wage-earner to be a safer risk (the thinking being - a higher-wage-earner is more experienced and less likely to sustain injury), thus, the workers' compensation premium rates are less for those in the “above” threshold category.  However, the BIG difference between this rationale and the study is that rather than basing the split rates on pay scale, the study proposes the split be between Union and Non-Union companies.

The study’s line of reasoning is that Union firms have fewer injuries and as a whole have a much lower loss ratio than Non-Union firms.  However, many industry experts disagree and believe that the figures are skewed and not representative of the true industry experience.  Clearly with the varying opinions and so much at stake, much more research and discussion needs to take place before anything is implemented.  

With that said, in order to remain relevant and competitive, all janitorial companies need to stay well informed and be prepared for any changes should they occur.  Rancho Mesa’s janitorial department will keep a close eye on any new developments and continue to help improve your company's risk profile, so you will be well informed and prepared for any changes.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact us