News & Events

Watch the full hearing HERE (begins at 59:45)


AB 1309 Hurts Workers

Sacramento, Calif. – AB 1309, which singles out a small category of employees (professional athletes), treating them differently than other employees by denying them the right to file for California Workers Compensation benefits, passed out of the Assembly Insurance Committee today. It sets a dangerous precedent for employees working across the country.

AB 1309 allows owners of professional sports franchises in California to forgo their liability for the cumulative trauma sustained by their employees (the athletes). The likely consequence is passing that liability onto the taxpayers.

Professional sports teams and organizations have a fundamental, moral and legal responsibility to the health and safety of their employees,” said Richard Berthelsen, former NFL Players Association General Counsel. “Workers compensation for players is a collectively bargained right and a law that should be protected for the health and safety of all workers. Unfortunately the co-author of the bill erroneously stated that NFL players receive lifetime medical benefits. This is absolutely not true. We look forward to educating Members of the California Legislature and the public to stop this harmful bill.”

“When we had the pleasure of being in [Assemblymember Henry] Perea’s office, last week on Monday, he sat behind his desk, and he smiled at me and he said, ‘I know, you made the point before, and I accept it. California taxpayers do not have to bear any of the expense of this,’” Berthelsen said during the hearing. Perea introduced the bill.

AB 1309 makes it impossible for professional athletes to receive workers compensation they collectively bargained for. Former players Chad Brown, Lorenzo Neal and Rolando Williams were on hand to share personal testimony and shed light on the injustices of the bill.

Let’s get the facts straight: Workers' compensation is a collectively bargained benefit that is paid for from the professional athletes' side of the salary cap (except baseball), and is not paid for by the taxpayers of California.  As part of the collective bargaining process, the athletes agreed to have less money available for salaries in order to ensure that they would have workers' compensation benefits. AB 1309 only helps the owners circumvent their responsibility under the law to the health and safety of their employees.

“It is difficult to understand why the California Legislature would be working to eliminate benefits for these injured employees. Especially, when in this instance, the costs of these benefits come directly from the employees’ side of the bargaining table,” said Dave Low, Chairman of Labor Coalition. 

As written, the bill would also apply retroactively to all “pending” workers compensation cases, effectively allowing legislation to decide claims already in the judicial system.

Labor groups that oppose AB 1309:

·         Labor Coalition
·         California Labor Federation
·         The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations
·         International Brotherhood of Teamsters
·         Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC)
·         California Association of Highway Patrolmen (CAHP)
·         California Psychological Association
·         California School Employees Association (CSEA), AFL-CIO
·         Engineers and Scientists of California, IFPTE Local 20, AFL-CIO
·         United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council

To learn more about how you can stop AB 1309 visit:

#StopAB1309                                     #ProtectOurWorkers                                     #Truth


Contact: Rachel Hooper
(916) 448-3444
(916) 708-1868