SB 35: "An Act authorizing employers and employees to mediate disputed workers' compensation claims and to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement that offers mediation and mandates arbitration 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. 35 01 "An Act authorizing employers and employees to mediate disputed workers' 02 compensation claims and to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement that offers 03 mediation and mandates arbitration of disputed workers' compensation claims by a 04 hearing officer or other classified employee of the division of workers' compensation and 05 allowing collective bargaining agreements to supersede certain provisions of the Alaska 06 Workers' Compensation Act; and providing for an effective date." 07 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 08 * Section 1. AS 23.30.110 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 09 (i) If the employee and the employer disagree with respect to the issues 10 relating to a claim under this chapter, the employee and the employer and their 11 respective representatives and agents may attend mediation, subject to the following: 12 (1) mediation under this section 13 (A) is intended to facilitate settlement of a disputed claim, but
01 the mediator does not have the power to compel a settlement; 02 (B) shall be conducted by a hearing officer or other classified 03 employee 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 compromise 09 or settle disputed claims and conduct or statements made during mediation may not be 10 used as evidence at a hearing under this chapter; 11 (3) after the first conference, either party may withdraw, or the 12 mediator may terminate mediation if the mediator determines that further mediation 13 efforts would be unproductive; 14 (4) if the mediator determines that mediation efforts are unsuccessful, 15 the mediator shall terminate mediation and notify the board that mediation efforts have 16 failed; 17 (5) if the mediation is successful, the mediator may assist the employer 18 and the employee in preparing a memorandum of agreement for filing with the board 19 or approval by the board under AS 23.30.012; 20 (6) if the employer and employee fail to reach an agreement by 21 mediation, the procedure for a hearing under this section shall continue; 22 (7) the expense of the mediation may not be assessed against the 23 participants. 24 * Sec. 2. AS 23.30 is amended by adding a new section to read: 25 Sec. 23.30.285. Collective bargaining agreements. (a) A collective 26 bargaining agreement negotiated between an employer or a group of employers and a 27 labor organization that represents employees may 28 (1) establish a process for resolving disputes under this chapter through 29 mediation or arbitration, or both; a process established under this paragraph must 30 provide that 31 (A) the parties must agree before a particular dispute may be
01 submitted to mediation; 02 (B) if mediation fails, the parties shall submit the dispute to 03 arbitration under AS 09.43.300 - 09.43.595; 04 (C) notwithstanding AS 09.43.300 - 09.43.595, the mediation 05 or arbitration be conducted by a hearing officer or other classified employee of 06 the division of workers' compensation; 07 (D) the mediation or arbitration govern the dispute resolution 08 process under this chapter; 09 (E) the dispute resolution process result in findings of fact, 10 award, and a final order or decision by the arbitrator; the award, order, or 11 decision of the arbitrator has the same force and effect as a finding of fact, 12 award, order, or decision of a hearing officer under AS 23.30.005; 13 (2) identify health care providers who are the exclusive source of 14 medical treatment provided under this chapter; in this paragraph, "health care 15 provider" has the meaning given in AS 09.55.560; 16 (3) identify independent medical evaluators who are the exclusive 17 source of medical evaluations authorized under this chapter; 18 (4) identify vocational rehabilitation specialists who are the exclusive 19 source of vocational rehabilitation services regulated under this chapter; 20 (5) establish a joint safety committee with representatives from the 21 employer and the labor organization; and 22 (6) establish a program for light-duty employment or employment that 23 is modified according to limitations or restrictions imposed by a physician or 24 chiropractor. 25 (b) A collective bargaining agreement negotiated under the authority set out in 26 (a) of this section may not reduce a benefit set out in this chapter. For purposes of this 27 subsection, the process and agreements negotiated under a collective bargaining 28 agreement under (a) of this section may not be construed to diminish a benefit under 29 this chapter. 30 (c) Competing physicians may meet and communicate to negotiate 31 collectively with a party to a collective bargaining agreement in the same manner as
01 the competing physicians may meet and communicate with a health benefit plan 02 concerning the contract terms and conditions under AS 23.50.020 relating to the 03 identity of the health care providers who are the exclusive source of medical treatment 04 under (a)(2) of this section. 05 (d) In this section, "labor organization" means a labor or employee 06 organization of any kind in which employees participate and that exists for the primary 07 purpose of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates 08 of pay, hours of employment, and conditions of employment. 09 * Sec. 3. This Act takes effect July 1, 2013.