SB 119: "An Act authorizing employers and employees to mediate disputed workers' compensation claims and negotiate collective bargaining agreements that require arbitration of disputed workers' compensation claims by the division of workers' compensation; allowing collective bargaining agreements to supersede provisions of the Alaska Workers' Compensation Act; and providing for an effective date."
00 SENATE BILL NO. 119 01 "An Act authorizing employers and employees to mediate disputed workers' 02 compensation claims and negotiate collective bargaining agreements that require 03 arbitration of disputed workers' compensation claims by the division of workers' 04 compensation; allowing collective bargaining agreements to supersede provisions of the 05 Alaska Workers' Compensation Act; and providing for an effective date." 06 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 07 * Section 1. AS 23.30.110 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 08 (i) If the employee and the employer disagree with respect to the issues 09 relating to a claim under this chapter, the employee and the employer and their 10 respective representatives and agents may resolve the disagreement by mediation, 11 subject to the following: 12 (1) mediation under this section 13 (A) is intended to facilitate resolution of a disputed claim, but
01 the mediator does not have the power to compel a resolution; 02 (B) shall be conducted by a hearing officer or other employee 03 of the division of workers' compensation; 04 (C) shall be conducted informally as one or more in-person or 05 telephonic conferences, as determined by the mediator; 06 (D) shall be confidential; and 07 (E) may not be recorded; 08 (2) notwithstanding AS 23.30.135, evidence of efforts to resolve 09 disputed claims and conduct or statements made during mediation may not be used as 10 evidence at a hearing under this chapter; 11 (3) after the first conference, either party may withdraw; 12 (4) if the mediator determines that further mediation efforts would not 13 be sufficiently productive, the mediator shall terminate mediation and notify the board 14 that mediation efforts have failed; 15 (5) if the mediation resolves the disagreement, the mediator may assist 16 the employer and the employee in preparing a memorandum of agreement for filing 17 with the board or approval by the board under AS 23.30.012; 18 (6) the expense of the mediation may not be assessed against the 19 participants. 20 * Sec. 2. AS 23.30 is amended by adding a new section to read: 21 Sec. 23.30.285. Collective bargaining agreements. (a) A collective 22 bargaining agreement negotiated between an employer or a group of employers and an 23 organization that represents employees may 24 (1) establish a process for resolving disputes under this chapter through 25 mediation or arbitration, or both; a process established under this paragraph must 26 provide that 27 (A) the parties must agree before a particular dispute may be 28 submitted to mediation; 29 (B) if mediation fails, the parties shall submit the dispute to 30 arbitration under AS 09.43.300 - 09.43.595; 31 (C) notwithstanding AS 09.43.300 - 09.43.595, the mediation
01 or arbitration be conducted by a hearing officer or other employee of the 02 division of workers' compensation; 03 (D) the mediation or arbitration govern the dispute resolution 04 process under this chapter; 05 (E) the dispute resolution process result in findings of fact, 06 award, and a final order or decision by the arbitrator; the award, order, or 07 decision of the arbitrator has the same force and effect as a finding of fact, 08 award, order, or decision of a hearing officer under AS 23.30.005; 09 (2) identify health care providers who are the exclusive source of 10 medical treatment provided under this chapter; in this paragraph, "health care 11 provider" has the meaning given in AS 09.55.560; 12 (3) identify independent medical evaluators who are the exclusive 13 source of medical evaluations authorized under this chapter; 14 (4) identify vocational rehabilitation specialists who are the exclusive 15 source of vocational rehabilitation services regulated under this chapter; 16 (5) establish a joint safety committee with representatives from the 17 employer and the labor organization; and 18 (6) establish a program for light-duty employment or employment that 19 is modified according to limitations or restrictions imposed by a physician or 20 chiropractor. 21 (b) A collective bargaining agreement or a process under (a) of this section 22 may not diminish a benefit under this chapter. 23 (c) Competing physicians may meet and communicate to negotiate 24 collectively with a party to a collective bargaining agreement in the same manner as 25 competing physicians may meet and communicate with a health benefit plan 26 concerning contract terms and conditions under AS 23.50.020 relating to the identity 27 of the health care providers who are the exclusive source of medical treatment under 28 (a)(2) of this section. 29 (d) In this section, "organization" has the meaning given in AS 23.40.250. 30 * Sec. 3. This Act takes effect July 1, 2019.