SB 116: "An Act offering mediation of disputed workers' compensation claims by a hearing officer or other classified employee of the division of workers' compensation and allowing collective bargaining agreements to supersede certain provisions of the Alaska Workers' Compensation Act; and providing for an effective date."
00 SENATE BILL NO. 116 01 "An Act offering mediation of disputed workers' compensation claims by a hearing 02 officer or other classified employee of the division of workers' compensation and 03 allowing collective bargaining agreements to supersede certain provisions of the Alaska 04 Workers' Compensation Act; and providing for an effective date." 05 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 06 * Section 1. AS 23.30.110 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 07 (i) If the employee and the employer disagree with respect to the issues 08 relating to a claim under this chapter, the employee and the employer and their 09 respective representatives and agents may attend mediation, subject to the following: 10 (1) mediation under this section 11 (A) is intended to facilitate settlement of a disputed claim, but 12 the mediator does not have the power to compel a settlement; 13 (B) shall be conducted by a hearing officer or other classified 14 employee of the division of workers' compensation;
01 (C) shall be conducted informally as one or more in-person or 02 telephonic conferences, as determined by the mediator; 03 (D) shall be confidential; and 04 (E) may not be recorded; 05 (2) notwithstanding AS 23.30.135, evidence of efforts to compromise 06 or settle disputed claims and conduct or statements made during mediation may not be 07 used as evidence at a hearing under this chapter; 08 (3) after the first conference, either party may withdraw, or the 09 mediator may terminate mediation if the mediator determines that further mediation 10 efforts would be unproductive; 11 (4) if, at any time, the mediator determines that mediation efforts are 12 unsuccessful, the mediator shall terminate mediation and notify the board that 13 mediation efforts have failed; 14 (5) if the mediation is successful, the mediator may assist the employer 15 and the employee in preparing a memorandum of agreement for filing with the board 16 or approval by the board under AS 23.30.012; 17 (6) if the employer and employee fail to reach an agreement by 18 mediation, the procedure for a hearing under this section shall continue; 19 (7) the expense of the mediation may not be assessed against the 20 participants. 21 * Sec. 2. AS 23.30 is amended by adding a new section to read: 22 Sec. 23.30.285. Collective bargaining agreements. (a) A collective 23 bargaining agreement negotiated between an employer or a group of employers and a 24 labor organization that represents employees may 25 (1) establish a process for alternative dispute resolution, including 26 mediation and arbitration by a hearing officer or other classified employee of the 27 division of workers' compensation, that governs disputes between an employee and an 28 employer or the employer's insurer and that supplements or replaces a part or all of a 29 dispute resolution process under this chapter; the alternative dispute resolution process 30 under this paragraph must provide that a finding of fact, award, order, or decision of 31 an arbitrator
01 (A) has the same force and effect as a finding of fact, award, 02 order, or decision of a hearing officer under AS 23.30.005; and 03 (B) is subject to appeal in the same manner and using the same 04 procedures as provided for review of a finding of fact, award, order, or 05 decision made by a hearing officer or the Workers' Compensation Appeal 06 Commission under AS 23.30.008; 07 (2) identify health care providers who are the exclusive source of 08 medical treatment provided under this chapter; in this paragraph, "health care 09 provider" has the meaning given in AS 09.55.560; 10 (3) identify medical evaluators who are the exclusive source of 11 medical evaluations authorized under this chapter; 12 (4) identify vocational rehabilitation specialists who are the exclusive 13 source of vocational rehabilitation services regulated under this chapter; 14 (5) establish a joint safety committee with representatives from the 15 employer and the labor organization; and 16 (6) establish a program for light-duty employment or employment that 17 is modified according to limitations or restrictions imposed by a physician or 18 chiropractor. 19 (b) A collective bargaining agreement negotiated under the authority set out in 20 (a) of this section may not reduce an employee benefit set out in this chapter. 21 (c) In this section, "labor organization" means a labor or employee 22 organization of any kind in which employees participate and that exists for the primary 23 purpose of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates 24 of pay, hours of employment, and conditions of employment. 25 * Sec. 3. This Act takes effect July 1, 2012.