We had this month’s meeting at our usual gethering spot, Brickside Bar and Grill. There was a good turnout and a lot of interesting discussion with regard to the issues we have been dealing with lately. We reviewed the anticipated timeline in which Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) Booklets should be distributed, the new Safety Advocate Position, the intricacies of our Sick Time Policy, and many other thoughts and concerns.
We opened the meeting with a recap of last month’s meeting and our unfinished business. One of our major points of discussion was outcome to the changes made to the Labor/Management Meeting structure after the Union’s decision to only conduct the meetings if the parties that can make the necessary decisions are able to attend. This came about as an effort to get problems/issues resolved in a timelier manner. At this point, it’s too early to measure the success of these changes as it was just brought up at last month’s meeting. We hope to have a few more meetings to get a fair measure on the outcome of the revisions. We touched on the expected distribution of the new CBA Booklets. As of now, they are supposed to be at the printer on the Company side of things and could take a couple months or more to get back to us. We also talked a little about some of the Sick Time issues we have been seeing. There are conflicting views between the Union and the Company regarding necessary documentation on the official doctors slip. What we, the Union employees, need to be aware of is that we are to follow our CBA in these matters. There are two sections in our CBA that basically state any information, regardless of how specific, the attending physician is comfortable with supplying on the certificate is sufficient to meet the Company’s requirements. The attending physician cannot violate any laws, especially the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a US law designed to provide privacy standards to protect patients’ medical records and other health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers. Physicians know the laws and go to great lengths to ensure they do not violated them. Those sections of our CBA that pertain to what is acceptable on the attending physician’s certificate are listed below:
ARTICLE XII, Section 7(a) – “Satisfactory assurance of inability to work due to an illness or injury is presented as required. The employee must present evidence that his absence from work was due to sickness or injury received outside his regular employment. For every such absence from work of three (3) regularly scheduled work days or more, an employee must furnish an attending physician’s certificate, or other such proof of receiving medical attention, which includes the nature of the injury or illness, and necessity for the absence, work restrictions or limitations, and estimated return to work. The Company may also require verification of receipt of medical attention when the number of occurrences exceed two (2) in a rolling twelve (12) month period.”
ARTICLE XVIII – “If any provision of this Agreement conflicts with any valid governmental proclamation, directive or regulation or with any valid Federal or State law, order, or regulations now or hereafter enacted or issued, such provision hereof shall not remain binding, but the remaining portions of the Agreement shall remain binding. Any conflicting provision shall then be open for renegotiation between the parties hereto for the purpose of reconciling the conflict.”
Our new business mainly concerned the new position of Safety Advocate. Both the Company and the Union think this position could prove to be very useful. This position would help our current Company Safety Representative and also have the working knowledge and the interests of our Union Members from their prospective. We are still in the infancy stages of putting this job together. The big issue we are having so far is whether or not this should be its own job. If not, how many days a week would it be, how would that work, whom are we looking at to fill such a position, what credentials are we looking for to fill the position, etc.. So far, the Union would like to see our elected Safety Rep. fill the position, and the Company would like to provide a list of names to pick from that they feel would be qualified. The Union feels this should be a fulltime position of five days a week, and the Company feels it should only be needed three days a week with the selected employee going back to his or her regular duties for the remaining days. Having said that, there are many issues yet to work out. We hope to know more about this position soon.
The best place to speak freely, stay informed, and get accurate information such as the Safety Advocate position progress and many other topics is our monthly meetings. The next meeting is scheduled for August 14th, 2018 at the Brickside Bar and Grill. If there are any issues that need brought up, you would like to make some changes in the way we do things at Harrison Power Station, or would like to see some changes in our local, I urge you to attend.