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Industry Insights

Duff: Workers' Compensation in the Proposed UPS-Teamsters Agreement

  • National

I was very surprised during the pandemic at how little some unions knew about workers' compensation. I'll be keeping a close look during this period of union agitation to see what is happening in collective bargaining agreements relating to workers' compensation.

Michael C. Duff

Michael C. Duff

Unions don't have to insist upon full-blown carveouts to achieve small claimant-side "wins" within collective bargaining agreements. Here is one compensation-related provision in the proposed UPS-Teamsters collective bargaining agreement:

Article 14. Compensation Claims

When an injury is reported, the reference number will be given to the employee and when requested, a copy of the injury report will be furnished to the employee within two (2) working days of such request. A copy of the injury report will also be furnished to the local union if requested by a local union official.

The employer agrees to cooperate and make a reasonable effort to provide the disposition of employee on-the-job injury claims within ten (10) business days. No employee will be disciplined or threatened with discipline or retaliated against as a result of filing an on-the-job injury report. The employer or its designee shall not visit an injured worker at their home.

The employer shall provide the union co-chair of the National Safety and Health Committee with current summaries of the essential functions of all positions covered by this agreement. The union shall have the right to challenge any such summary through the applicable grievance procedure. Any employee who is adversely affected by any such summary shall have the right to challenge such summary through the applicable grievance procedure.

Any such decisions or settlements rendered through the grievance procedure, including but not limited to, at arbitration, shall be based solely upon, and applicable to, the facts present in that individual case and shall have no precedential effect beyond that case. This stipulation is limited to cases involving or referencing essential job functions.

The employer shall provide workers' compensation protection for all employees even though not required by state law or the equivalent thereof if the injury arose out of or in the course of employment.

An employee who is injured on the job and is sent home or to a hospital or who must obtain medical attention shall receive pay at the applicable hourly rate for the balance of their regular shift on that day. Upon receiving an employee’s timely report of injury, the employer shall not pressure an employee to continue to work, nor shall the employer interfere with an employee seeking medical attention. When, because of such pressure, an employee spends time in a clinic after their normal finish time, the time spent shall be the subject of a pay claim through the grievance procedure.

An employee who has returned to regular duties after sustaining a compensable injury and who is required by the workers' compensation doctor to receive additional medical treatment during the employee’s regularly scheduled working hours shall receive the employee’s regular hourly rate of pay for such time.

The employer agrees to provide any employee injured locally immediate transportation, at the time of injury, from the job to the nearest appropriate medical facility and return to the job or to the employee’s home, if required. In such cases, no representative of the employer shall be permitted to accompany the injured worker while they are receiving medical treatment and/or being examined by the medical provider, without the employee’s consent. In the event that any employee sustains an occupational illness or injury while on a run away from the home terminal, the employer shall obtain medical treatment for the employee, if necessary, and, thereafter will provide transportation by bus, train, plane or automobile to the employee’s home terminal if and when directed by a doctor.

An employee that has a change in their medical duty status shall report that change to the employer.

In the event of a fatality arising in the course of employment while away from the home terminal, the employer shall return the deceased to the home of the deceased at the point of domicile.

Anything of note?

Michael C. Duff is a professor of law at the Saint Louis University School of Law and co-director of the university's William C. Wefel Center for Employment Law. This entry is republished from the Workers' Compensation Law Professors blog with permission.

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