Site Map Icon
RSS Feed icon
January 20, 2018
Marriage and Family Therapist


Dr. Luonne A. Rouse, LMFT Fellow - AAPC


75 Tanyard Lane

Huntington, NY 11743 and

11 Penn Plaza, 5th Floor

New York, NY 10001

646.335.2427 tel

Workers' Compensation
Posted On: May 20, 2008

Workers' Comp

Workers' Comp

When we talk about a steward’s toolbox, filled with the information and activism needed to combat problems in the workplace, let’s add one more tool: a knowledge of the workers’ compensation system. Workers’ compensation is under attack today, and it’s vital that stewards both understand how it works and he prepared to deal aggressively with threats to make it less helpful to workers. It’s important to remember that workers comp grew from out own increased political power. Employers used to he able to avoid responsibility for workplace deaths or disabilities through a variety of dirty tricks, most often by blaming the workers themselves for industrial accidents that occurred because of the employer’s own policies or carelessness. When victims started suing, and workers on juries started voting decent settlements, the bosses pushed for creation of the workers’ compensation system. The system pretty much closed off the right of workers to sue their employers in exchange for a basic right. That is, if a worker is hurt on the job, the boss is supposed to assume all responsibility both for paving a set percentage of lost wages and for paying in full for all medical care related to the accident. But across North America today, the whole workers’ compensation system is being turned around to remove these basic rights and protections. Here’s how.

Threats from All Sides

Business forces are trying to remove obvious causes of occupational health and safety problems from coverage altogether. And, they’re trying to cut the level of cash payments.

2. Insurance companies that sell employers their comp policies routinely deny claims, forcing workers to find lawyers and suffer through expensive, drawn out court cases. Most stares allow lawyers to take 25 percent to 33 percent of a worker’s settlement — a big chunk of an injured worker’s desperately needed award.

3. More and more employers are aggressively denying comp claims altogether, or at least trying to shift possible claims onto the worker’s sickness and accident policy. There are enormous financial benefits to a boss who does this: the amount of actual lost wages paid out under a sickness and accident policy is generally limited to 26 weeks, but a workers’ comp claim can basically be reopened any time there is a recurrence of the original injury. More important, workers comp pays all medical hills, hut a worker’s typical health insurance policy is filled with limits, deductibles and exclusions. In a case at a steel plant, for example, the company challenged the comp claim of a worker w ho needed an expensive MRI test: the full cost of the test would he covered by workers’ comp, and costly claims can add up to higher insurance premiums to the boss. But if the company successfully shifted the claim to the worker’s health insurance, the worker would have to pay approximately $700 out of pocket.

What’s a Steward to Do?

1. Alert sour co-workers to the overall workers’ comp issue. Most people just don’t care about it, figuring they will never he hurt. Remind them that an accident can happen at any time. Besides, we need to show some solidarity with other workers who might get hurt. Tell your coworkers to notify an officer of the union every time an accident takes place, no matter how minor. Workplace posters about accidents usually offer procedures and phone numbers, but they never tell workers to notify their steward.

2. Be alert to every workplace accident. Make sure an incident report is filed. Even if you have to go with your co-worker to a medical facility, don’t let management agents — even your friendly workplace nurse — write up an incident as “unrelated to employment.” An injured worker is especially vulnerable to pressure, so a steward can provide some important protection at the beginning of a dispute. Don’t let a company official sweet-talk workers into not filing an accident report in exchange for a promise of light duty or a couple of days off. Every accident may be potentially serious, so start a paper trail as soon as possible.

3. Educate yourself about work related issues of health and safety. Problems like heart attacks and stress, even though they may evidence themselves away from the job, may he work-related and should be filed as workers’ comp cases.

4. Demand better health and safety practices throughout the workplace. While some of the practices in manufacturing seem obvious — like lock-out/tag-out procedures to make machinery safe when being serviced — stewards also should look at the design of computer stations in offices or occupational diseases due to chemical exposure in manufacturing and other facilities. No workplace is totally free of the risk of accidents and illnesses.

5. Get information to your members about the political and court activity surrounding workers’ comp. In every state and province, the politicians want to prove their business—friendliness by cutting back on coverage and benefits: workers must be prepared to fight back. And court decisions should be tracked: they can dramatically change worker benefits, sometimes for the better. A 2003 decision in Maryland, for example, loosened standards in a way that made it easier for workers with injuries that gradually worsened — like bad backs — to collect. And in 2005 another good court decision in the state opened the door to benefits for undocumented workers.

6. Keep in touch with workers who are out on a comp claim to present the boss from pushing them to return to work before they are fully recovered.

7. Understand that denial of claims can he responded to through the grievance procedure, as a union issue, and not just by individual workers through the outside legal system.

— Bill Barry. The writer is director of Labor Studies for the Community Colleges of Baltimore County. With thanks to Charles Wagner, a graduate of the program and now a workers’ comp attorney, for his suggestions.

Member Login


Not registered yet?
Click Here to sign-up

Forgot Your Login?
<< January 2018 >>
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31
Upcoming Events
No Events Found
Contact Congress!
Enter Zip code:
Blog Updates
Blog Topics
Organize Today
Learn more about organizing your workplace!

Click Here
Action Center
Current Campaigns
  • The IBT and your Atlanta Committee members, Geoff Maloney and Chris Rogers have been negotiating with Company management since 2010; almost as long as the IBT have been negotiating for the Express Jet CRJ members. 

    The Company has now given us their final, closeout proposal on wages. Neither the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division, the Business Agents of Local 210 and Local 19, nor your rank-and-file committee members are recommending this be ratified. A detailed letter from your ExpressJet CRJ Negotiating Committee can be found here. A copy of the company’s last, best and final offer can be found here.

    Ballots were mailed on Tuesday, June 20, 2017.  Each member will receive voting instructions and credentials required for voting.  Voting will close on Monday, July 10, and will be counted the same day. 

  • The ‘Let’s Get America Working!’ campaign seeks to restore a dynamic and prosperous middle class to drive economic growth by helping to advance policy decisions that create and maintain good middle-income jobs, guarantee retirement security, expand access to the American Dream, and ensure that the benefits of the ongoing economic recovery are felt by the many, not just the few.

  • We Are eXPOsing XPO’s Global Greed

    XPO Logistics is a top ten global logistics and transportation company with annual revenue of $15 billion and 89,000 employees, another 10,000 workers classified as independent contractors, and thousands more working for firms that subcontract with XPO. We are the REAL workers at XPO Logistics worldwide exposing the truth about the company’s global greed, illegal wage theft, unsafe conditions, and abhorrent and vicious anti-worker, anti-union tactics. 

    This greed includes mistreating former Con-way Freight workers in the United States who are being kept in the dark about terminal closures and layoffs, and the company’s illegal refusal to bargain contracts and denying their workers’ federally protected right to organize. It also includes port, rail and last-mile drivers around the country and in Southern California fighting wage theft in excess of $200 million because they are misclassified as independent contractors and denied the right to form their union. This greed has caused numerous lawsuits and strikes.  Greed also means an unsafe workplace and mistreating its warehouse employees.

    XPO’s greed extends to Europe beginning with breaking its promise to not layoff any workers for at least 18 months. French workers and the unions have been fighting back against XPO’s disrespect, lies and attempts to slash jobs. Similar struggles are taking place in Great Britain, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and across Europe.

    Join the worldwide struggle now! Get involved with this campaign by joining the Facebook group “XPO Exposed.”

    Together, we can eXPOse the company’s global greed and win fairness, respect and dignity for tens of thousands of XPO employees around the world!

  • This webpage provides information on the Teamsters Union’s legislative advocacy at both the federal and state level as well as our field activity to support those policy positions and to get strong labor candidates elected to office.  Among other resources, you will find our federal legislative scorecard, formal statements of policy position and communications to Capitol Hill,  a weekly update on federal legislative happenings, an overview of bills we are tracking at the state level, and quick links to take action on priority issues.

  • Negotiations for the National Master Automobile Transporters Agreement (NMATA) recently concluded and a tentative agreement has been reached. On Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 representatives from carhaul local unions met in Detroit to endorse the National Agreement and the Central-Southern Supplement, paving the way for members to vote. The Eastern and Western Supplements were approved in 2016, and will not be re-voted. However, all carhaul members will get to exercise their right to vote on the National Agreement and General Monetary Changes.

    Ballots will be mailed out on or about March 10 and are tentatively scheduled to be counted on March 30.

    The tentative agreement is from September 1, 2015, until May 31, 2021.

  • Workers’ pensions are being endangered by both Congress and those charged with overseeing them. The Teamsters and our members are standing united to say “No!” to cuts and “Yes!” to greater retirement security!

  • The Teamsters Union represents more than 250,000 members at UPS and UPS Freight. UPS remains an active member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) despite the organization’s anti-worker and anti-union agenda that seeks to undermine and weaken worker protections.

  • This web page provides information on the ongoing effort to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Since 1994, NAFTA has devastated working families, putting corporate profits ahead of people.  What’s worse is that NAFTA has become the blueprint for all other trade agreements, from the way that it was negotiated in secret, to the bad provisions that have made their way into every agreement that has been signed since then.  Now, NAFTA is being renegotiated and we demand that it be reframed to work for workers instead of corporate interests.

  • Workers across the country at FedEx Freight and Con-way Freight are standing shoulder to shoulder to form their unions with the Teamsters to win a more secure future. Momentum is building with a first wave of victories with many more to come.

    There is growing worker resentment toward the companies after years of being treated unfairly. While the companies have suddenly made improvements since workers began to organize, workers know that without a legally binding contract the company can take these things away at any time.

    The unfulfilled promises that have been made to drivers and dockworkers over the past decade are coming back to haunt management.

    But now workers are taking action and standing up for themselves by forming their union. It's a different era now. It's Teamster Time! LIKE our Facebook page, here.

  • Teamsters are been standing together to protect good jobs at Sysco and US Foods. Our solidarity on many fronts helped to defeat the mega-merger of the two companies, which would have put thousands of jobs at risk. But challenges remain as both companies refine their plans. Join our campaign to ensure these foodservice giants honor their agreements with 11,500 Teamsters and help us bring more Sysco and US Foods workers into the Teamster family. LIKE our Facebook page, here.


Important Links
James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship Fund
Tribune Benefits
Paycheck City
Save Our Trade
Sean Patrick Riordan, Esq.
Unions Matter
GCC/IBT Local 406 - C
Copyright © 2018, All Rights Reserved.
Powered By UnionActive™

239351 hits since May 15, 2008

Top of Page image