Robert E. McGarrah, Jr., has been a NASI member since 1988 and he is Vice-Chair of the Workers’ Compensation Steering Committee. He is Coordinator for Workers’ Compensation at the AFL-CIO, located in Washington, DC. At this position since 2002, McGarrah works on all national and state programs to compensate injured workers, ranging from Homeland Security to state workers’ compensation. Before that, he worked for AFL-CIO President John Sweeney on healthcare, contingent labor, and election reform issues.
“Rob is the labor movement’s chief spokesperson on workers’ compensation. He has an extensive background in health care reform, which is particularly relevant to the Steering Committee’s work because medical care now accounts for almost half of workers’ compensation benefit payments,” said John F. Burton, founding Chair of NASI’s Workers’ Compensation Steering Committee and Professor at the School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) at Rutgers University.
Prior to his work at the AFL-CIO, McGarrah was a staff attorney and later director of the first labor union public policy department at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal employees. There, he wrote the original proposal for President Clinton’s Commission on Patients’ Rights and launched the union’s successful drive to organize all clerical and technical workers at Harvard University. McGarrah began his career as one of the original staff attorneys for Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, where he published the first consumer directory of physicians and successfully litigated a First Amendment Challenge to Virginia’s Medical Practice Act.
Outside of his work with the AFL-CIO, McGarrah speaks before university, medical, and legal organizations throughout the country, and is a member of the bar in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. He graduated from Villanova University Law School in 1972 and received his MPH from Johns Hopkins University in 1999.