Making Workers' Compensation Work Right for Minnesota's Union Construction Industry

- Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Who is in charge of the Program, workers or management?

    The Program’s Board of Trustees, which is made up of equal representation from participating unions and contractors, handles all governance decisions. Wilson- McShane Corporation is the Program’s administrator.

  • Does this Program allow the injured employee to hire a lawyer?

    Yes. All Program participants have the right to hire an attorney. If there is a dispute, we hold an initial facilitation session with all parties, after which the dispute resolution facilitator may issue a ruling if the dispute isn’t resolved by agreement. More than 90% of disputes are resolved at this stage. Unresolved disputes move on to mediation or arbitration. Attorneys may participate in facilitation, mediation, and arbitration sessions.

  • Can the injured union member choose the doctor who treats the work injury?

    Yes, but there are certain limits. The injured employee may select any appropriate doctor from the UCWCP Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO). The EPO is a select list of doctors known both for their ability to heal work injuries and their communication skills. Injured workers typically begin treating with an occupational medicine specialist. However, all specialties are available, including chiropractic.

    In addition, the trustees have formed a separate panel of neutral medical examiners to provide objective opinions on issues of dispute, and we may request an examination by one of them for the purpose of resolving an issue. These examiners only offer opinions about medical issues.

  • Can an injured worker still choose the Minnesota court system to resolve my disputes?

    No. If the union and the employer participate in the Program, then both the employer and injured employee must utilize the Program’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system.

  • If an injured worker is entitled to benefits, does the worker receive them more quickly? Can an injured worker be starved out?

    In most disputed claims that we facilitate, payments begin more quickly. Here’s why: In the traditional system, medical and wage-replacement benefits can be withheld for sometimes 18 months while the claim is proceeding to a hearing before a judge. In our system, an initial facilitation session may be held in as little as a month after the injury. Even if the denial of benefits is upheld at facilitation, the parties may proceed directly to arbitration, often obtaining final resolution of the benefit dispute in less than six months. This process eliminates “starving out.”

  • If an injury keeps a union member from practicing his or her trade, what happens next?

    Our system is more likely to identify a modified job condition that will enable an employee to earn their regular pay and benefits more quickly. The Trustees of the Program created a panel of neutral vocational rehabilitation counselors who understand the rigorous demands of the construction industry. They work with injured workers and their employers to help find jobs that can be physically tolerated at the highest wages possible.

  • How do I know a settlement will be fair?

    The Program’s Board of Trustees reviewed the credentials of all mediators that we use. The mediators’ settlements must meet the same standards required by Minnesota’s workers’ compensation law: they must be fair, reasonable, and in compliance with the law.