Health and Safety

Union Health and Safety Programs

Every UE workplace should have a Health & Safety Committee or a Union Program for Health & Safety. Funding for OSHA has been cut severely and so no workers should rely on OSHA to make inspections.

No matter what the boss says, it is the right and the duty of the union to deal with health & safety issues even if there is no specific language in the contract.

Medical Information Requests and HIPAA

Cartoon image of a worker typing on a computer

Dear UE Steward,

The UE Steward on “Information Requests” stated that our employer must provide us with medical information; however, it may be considered confidential. Here is a situation that just occurred with us.

George Scott injured his back at work. After going through therapy his doctor released him to return to work but with a weight lifting restriction. The doctor said this restriction could be removed after some time passed. Our employer refused to take George back to work, saying there wasn’t any light duty work that he could do. We filed a grievance on George’s behalf stating that many other people had come back to work on light duty. We provided the company with a list of names of employees who had light duty and we asked to see their medical records. We know we can prove that other workers had the same lifting restrictions. The personnel manager refused stating that under HIPAA he wasn’t allowed to release any medical information about employees.

What is HIPAA and is he right?

Joe Gerraneo
UE Chief Steward
Burnemup Tool Co.