Union Services Access celebrates the American worker

Union Services Access celebrates the American worker

happy labor day

Join us this Labor Day in paying homage to American workers and their hard-won rights to safe, healthy and fair conditions at work.

On Tuesday, September 5, 1882, workers sacrificed a day’s pay  to celebrate the strength and solidarity of trade and labor organizations with the first Labor Day. Organized by Central Labor Union, a coalition of local New York unions, the tradition continued each year in New York until 1885 when the first city ordinance came to declare the day a holiday. In 1887, Oregon was the first state to declare Labor Day a holiday, followed by Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. After 23 states had their own Labor Days, Congress declared the first Monday of September a legal holiday in 1894.

More than 100 years later, Labor Day acts as a reminder of how far America has come in terms of workers’ rights and workplace safety. As a firm dedicated to defending workers’ rights, Labor Day is an especially important holiday to us. We thank our hardworking clients, local unions and referral partners for their steadfast trust is us.

Our offices will be closed Monday, September 7 in honor of the holiday.

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From one defender of labor to another: John Dougherty to succeed Pat Gillespie as head of Building Trades Council

From one defender of labor to another: John Dougherty to succeed Pat Gillespie as head of Building Trades Council

 

Photograph by Adam Jones

Photograph by Adam Jones

On Wednesday, September 2, 2015, John Dougherty, IBEW Local 98 business manager, was selected as the next leader of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council. He succeeds Pat Gillespie, who has served as the organization’s business manager for 34 years. . As business manager of the union coalition for nearly 40 unions, Pat has left a lasting legacy on union labor in Philadelphia, which John will continue when he officially starts his term on December 1, 2015.

Union Services Access congratulates John on his appointment as president. We are confident that under John’s leadership, the Building Trades Council, which includes many Union Services Access unions, will continue to strengthen the presence of union labor in the Philadelphia area.

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Meet Christina Ford, USA Scholarship winner

Meet Christina Ford, USA Scholarship winner

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Ms. Christina Ford received the Union Services Access Scholarship to further her education. A senior at Commonwealth Connections Academy, Christina is an ambitious student who has many goals for the future. She aspires to become an interior designer and eventually obtain her master’s degree. She hopes to have a successful career focused on giving back to family, friends and those in need. She is enrolled at Philadelphia University for the fall 2015 semester.

Christina attributes much of her success from her grandmother’s and father’s support. Her father is George Ford, Jr., a union member of CWA Local 13000.

“Since I was a small child, my father has always motivated me and helped me keep my focus on school,” she wrote in her essay. “Even to this day, my father has helped me to remain determined about wanting to be on top/be more than the best that I can be.”

Learn more about the USA Scholarship program.

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USA supports prominent defenders of workers’ rights at the 2015 Peggy Browning Awards

USA supports prominent defenders of workers’ rights at the 2015 Peggy Browning Awards

 

peggybrowningawards

 

On Thursday, March 19, 2015, attorneys from Union Services Access attended the annual Philadelphia Peggy Browning Awards ceremony to support the fund. President Sam Pond and Vice President Pat Bianculli were members of the host committee for the event, which honored three prominent defenders of workers’ rights: John Kane, business manager and secretary/treasurer for Plumbers Union Local 690; Joan Parker, arbitrator, mediator and educator; and Wendell Young IV, president of UFCW Local 1776.

The Peggy Browning Fund is a nonprofit organization established in memory of Margaret A. Browning, prominent labor attorney and member of the National Labor Relations Board. The fund aims to motivate and educate the next generation of advocates for workers’ rights.

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Do you know the 6 types of PA workers’ compensation benefits?

Do you know the 6 types of PA workers’ compensation benefits?

6 Types of Worker's Comp Benefits

Most people understand that if they are injured on the job, they can receive workers’ compensation for their injuries. Workers’ compensation is not intended to replace all the wages lost during an injury, but to provide a percentage of your wages in a non-taxable form of either weekly or bi-weekly payments.

In Pennsylvania, these benefits can come in six different forms:

Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits – are payable as long as you are unable to work. After 104 weeks, you may be asked to have an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE) by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. If after the examination, it is determined that you have less than a 50 percent whole body impairment, you will be considered partially disabled. This means that you are limited to collect your TTD benefits for a maximum of 500 weeks, but your rate remains the same.

Partial disability benefits – these are payable up to 500 weeks when your partial disability status is determined from an IRE or if an insurance carrier’s doctor feels that you are able to perform light-duty work. This means that you have the ability to earn some wages, but you have not completely recovered from your work injury.

If the new job pays less than the pre-injury job, you are entitled to be paid two-thirds of the difference between average weekly wage of your old job and your new job up to the maximum rate for the year of your injury.

Specific loss benefits – are payable if you suffer an amputation, loss of use of certain body parts, loss of hearing or vision, or any permanent or serious disfigurement of your face, neck or head. These benefits are equal to your TTD benefit rate for specific time and healing periods.

Medical expenses – these are payable by your employer for any reasonable, necessary and related medical care expense you incur for your work injury. They also include the cost of home or automobile renovations to accommodate your injury. There is no time limit or restrictions on the receipt of medical care for your injuries.

Travel expenses – are reimbursed to you if you are traveling outside your local community for treatment because it is not available in your community. The insurance carrier is required to provide transportation to and from an Independent Medical Examination if you cannot get there on your own.

Death benefits – are payable if the worker dies as a result of a job injury or illness within 300 weeks of the date of injury or exposure. These include $3000 in funeral expense reimbursement, benefits paid to the spouse until he/she remarries, and benefits paid to children under 18 (or 23 if they are enrolled as full-time students in an accredited school).

If you’ve been injured on the job, you may be entitled to some of these benefits. Call our expert workers’ compensation lawyers today at 877-918-6466, email info@unionsa.org. Let us help you get your life back.

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Proposed amendment to PA Work Comp Act may jeopardize injured workers’ health

Proposed amendment to PA Work Comp Act may jeopardize injured workers’ health

 

protect medical treatment2

On February 4, 2015, Representative David Hickernell has again proposed an Amendment to the Workers’ Compensation Act that would extend the medical captive period from 90 days to 180 days. This could greatly impact the quality of injured workers’ medical care.

What is the medical captive period?

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act has a medical captive period in it called “the 90-day rule.” For the first 90 days, you may be required to see a doctor provided by your employer (known as a panel doctor.) You are ONLY required to see a panel doctor if specific requirements are met during the course of your employment, including:

  • Your employer must provide a clearly written notice to you of your rights and responsibilities
  • You must sign the notice at the time of hire, whenever a change is made to the list, and at the time of the injury
  • The list must contain at least six providers; three of these six providers must be physicians

In most cases, these conditions are not met. Remember, you are ALWAYS able to treat with your own doctor, but if you are required to see a panel doctor for the first 90 days any other medical treatment will usually require you to pay out of pocket.

What does this mean for injured workers’ health?

Raising the medical captive period from 90-180 days puts a strain on both the workers’ injuries and their pockets. Some panel doctors can further aggravate patients’ injuries because of their careless bedside manner. During this captive period, if patients would like to treat with their usual physician, they must pay out of pocket just to get quality care.

Though most of the time the guidelines for the 90-day rule are not met, we need to protect those who do fit the criteria from subpar medical treatment.

We urge you to email Representative David Hickernell directly at Dhickern@pahousegop.com, and urge him to stand up for his constituents’ rights to quality medical treatment.

Read the full text of the proposed Amendment here.

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Co-founder of Union Services Access Sam Pond recently sat down with “Today in PhillyLabor” to talk about the firm’s growth, his union background and political action

Co-founder of Union Services Access Sam Pond recently sat down with “Today in PhillyLabor” to talk about the firm’s growth, his union background and political action.

 

Recently, Pond Lehocky Managing Partner Sam Pond was a featured as a call-in guest on Today in PhillyLabor’s radio show. He discussed Pond Lehocky’s continual growth and expansion, the firm’s commitment to political action and what to do if you’ve been injured on the job.

Sam also discussed his strong personal connection to organized labor.

“I grew up in a labor home,” he said. “I grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and had a father within the labor movement in the ’40s. His father was a union tradesman in the ’20s and ’30s and went through the Great Depression. It was drilled in me very early on the importance of collective bargaining for decent wages, work environments and benefits.”

Listen to the interview

To hear this and more, listen to Sam’s full appearance here.

Today in PhillyLabor airs every Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. on talk radio station WWDB/860-AM. Hosted by Philadelphia AFL-CIO President, Pat Eiding, Joe Dougherty, Jr. and Joe Krause, it tackles the top issues in organized labor and provides insider’s look at the Philadelphia area labor movement.

sam-pond

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New OSHA Reporting Requirements for Work Injuries in the New Year

New OSHA Reporting Requirements for Work Injuries in the New Year

Effective Jan. 1, 2015, employers will be required to report all work-related fatalities within eight hours and all in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye within 24 hours of finding out about the incident to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

This change will help prevent subsequent injuries by eliminating hazards quicker. Previously, employers were only required to report workplace fatalities when three or more workers were hospitalized in the same incident.

There are three ways to report an injury to OSHA:

USA knows the importance of maintaining workplace safety to prevent injuries and reporting injuries in a timely fashion. If you have suffered a work injury because of unsafe conditions, call us today at 1-877-91UNION or use the contact form to the right and let us help you.

To download the official PDF, click the image below:

osha-reporting-graphic

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PA Workplace Safety Workshop: Professionals Share Best Practices

PA Workplace Safety Workshop: Professionals Share Best Practices

Recently, major Eastern Pennsylvania companies and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) gathered together for an open forum to discuss various safety practices. The forum consisted of workshops where participants developed practical solutions to safety issues in a real-world context.

Three key areas discussed were:

Worker involvement in injury prevention
OSHA’s Voluntary Protect Program
OSHA’s Challenge

OSHA has a wide-array of safety and illness prevention resources for employers and employees. No matter how prepared you are, unfortunately, workplace injuries still occur. If you’ve been injured on the job, call us today at 1-877-91UNION or use the contact form to the right for a free consultation.

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Union Services Access Awards Erica McLaughlin with Scholarship

erica2

It is with the utmost honor that Union Services Access Scholarship Fund
awards Erica McLaughlin with a scholarship in recognition of her
outstanding academic accomplishments and extracurricular activity. Both
in the classroom, and in her community she has displayed qualities of an
exemplary character. She has done this, more respectably, with
undiminished modesty. Erica, who is the daughter of James McLaughlin of
D.C. 21, Glaziers Local 252, will be attending Chestnut Hill College, and we,
of Union Service Access, are doubtless she will continue in her success
and are proud to help her in the pursuit of her dreams.

Visit our Scholarship page to read more about the Union Services Access Scholarship Fund.

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