A Washington Post story yesterday incorrectly listed the two members of the D.C. City Council who cast preliminary votes April 22 against a new workers' compensation bill. Those who voted against the measure both on April 22 and upon final passage Tuesday were Hilda Mason (Statehood-At-Large) and Wilhelmina J. Rolark (D-Ward 8).
The D.C. City Counsil voted final passage yesterday of a bill that would reduce future benefits for workers who suffer on-the-job injuries, handing the city's business community its most-wanted political victory.
The vote of 11 to 2 sent the worker's compensation measure to Mayor Marion Barry, who said he would sign it "as soon as it reaches my desk." But organized labor, which bitterly fought the measure, promised to continue fighting to keep it from going into effect.
Labor lawyer Joseph H. Koonz said Congress will be asked to invoke its power to veto the measure. If that falls, Koonz said, "we'll go to court and see what happens."
"We are pleased," Roger L. Blunt said after the vote. He is a builder who heads the Greater Washington Board of Trade task force on workers' compensation.
But he said the board is "obviously unhappy" that the council approved an amendment proposed by Barry that delays the effective date of the bill -- and the hope by business for lower compensation insurance premiums -- until Oct. 1, 1981.
The only opposition votes recorded yesterday on the bill sponsored by Willie J. Hardy (Ward 7) were cast by Hilda Mason (Statehood-At Large) and Wilhelmina J. Rolark (D-Ward 8).
Hardy and Rolark were the only opponents in a preliminary vote April 22 at which the measure was approved by a vote of 10 to 2. John L. Ray (D-At Large) who abstained from voting at that time in protest against precedure) decisions, switched to a "Yes" vote.
Yesterday's debate was muted -- contrasting with earlier angry encounters over the bill. Before an audince of 150, consisting mostly of businessmen, the council rejected by wide margins three amendments designed to meet some of labor's objections.
Robert E. Peterson, president of the labor council, said union council deliberations had been urged instead to work at getting out the vote for the D.C. primary election.
In little more than a year, workers' compensation has emerged as the top business issue in the city, with executives complaining that skyrocketing premiums were driving companies out of the city into the suburbs, where similar compensation programs are less costly.
In 1972, District employers paid about $20 million in premiums, a figure projected to reach $140 million this year.
The bill would roll back the future maximum payment to an injured worker from $426 to $396 a week, give business greater opportunities to challenge the validity of claims, and limit national cost-of-living adjustments in benefits to 5 percent.
Claims currently being paid to injured workers would not be affected the measure.
Under the city's Home Rule Charter, either house of Congress may veto any act of the D.C. City Council during a 30-day review period that starts after the bill is signed by the mayor. Congress has used that power only once -- last December, when it rejected a city law limiting the location of foreign chanceries.
In other matters yesterday, the council:
Enacted a bill making it illegal for a landlord to refuse to rent an apartment or a dwelling to a family with children within occupancy levels spelled out in the bill.
Chartered the Museum of the City of Washington as a nonprofit private corporation for the purpose of preserving local artifacts and historic materials.