APWU-Supported Workers’ Compensation Bill Passes House

Legislator Criticizes Postal Bills’ Approach to Injured Workers

The House of Representatives passed bi-partisan legislation supported by the APWU to update benefits for injured federal and postal workers on Nov. 29. Introduced in the House by Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), the bill was co-sponsored by Ranking Minority Member George Miller (D-CA), Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), and Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), and was approved by a voice vote.

The bill (H.R. 2465 [PDF]) would raise benefits for funeral expenses (to $6,000) and compensation for facial disfigurement (to $50,0000); these benefits have not been increased since 1949. The bill also would streamline the claims process for workers who sustain a traumatic injury in an armed-conflict zone; permit physician assistants and nurse practitioners to certify disability for traumatic injuries, and label injuries sustained due to terrorism as “war-risk hazards.”

Speaking on the House floor during consideration of the bill, Rep. Woolsey criticized the approach taken in a Senate and House committee during consideration of the 21 st Century Postal Service Act of 2011 (S. 1789), and the Postal Reform Act of 2011 (H.R. 2309), respectively.

“I was disappointed to see that the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs has reported out postal reform legislation that adopted many of the Department of Labor’s proposals to cut FECA, and then went a step further and cut them even more deeply, without having first undertaken an analysis of the impacts,” she said. “The Senate committee even imposed some of these cuts retroactively. Frankly, taking a meat axe to the FECA program without first doing your homework is irresponsible. It is my hope that the legislation before us today, coupled with a bi-partisan commitment to study the matter with care, can serve as an example for the correct path forward for improving FECA.”

In reference to the House bill, Woolsey said:

“I was also troubled to learn that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform decided to include changes to FECA in a postal reform bill that would create a separate postal workers’ compensation system outside of FECA. All federal workers should be covered under the same workers’ compensation system, regardless of which agency employs them. Pursuant to House Rules, workers’ compensation programs, including FECA, have been within the primary jurisdiction of the House Committee on Education and Workforce, and I expect that Members of our committee will have an opportunity to weigh in on that bill before it moves forward.”

Consideration of the legislation follows a hearing earlier in the year entitled, “Reviewing Workers’ Compensation for Federal Employees.” APWU Human Relations Director Sue Carney testified [PDF] on behalf of postal and federal employees.

In July 2011, the Education and Workforce Committee asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to evaluate the consequences of administration proposals to modify FECA-related benefit levels when permanently injured employees reach Social Security retirement age; reduce benefit levels for individuals with dependents; and establish a three-day waiting period before FECA benefits can begin. The committee has indicated that no further consideration of changes to the Federal Employee Compensation Act is likely until GAO’s evaluation is completed.

APWU-Supported Workers’ Compensation Bill Passes House
Legislator Criticizes Postal Bills’ Approach to Injured Workers

6 thoughts on “APWU-Supported Workers’ Compensation Bill Passes House

  1. APWU sold its membership down the river. Ask the lemmings if they’re thrilled with that so-called contract and the “niffty” jobs that are now in place. Never said break the unions…The time for decertification seems ripe. With no options as to representation in place, APWU members will opt to make their own pay raise by getting out. There are options. Follow the NLRB’s process for decertification. APWU will be unable to stop it as long as the majority of members make their voices heard. The other option for getting your voice heard is the PS Form 1188.

  2. enufisenuf — Thats right break all the Unions and get rid of the middle class – exactly what the 1% republicans want….

  3. Occupy APWU today by sending in your PS Form 1188 before the dues increase! That sick, lame and lazy good for nothing steward won’t give you one so don’t ask. Go to your personnel office or download it!

  4. great that someone speaks up, and passed the house! You know it will fail in the senate! they can’t agree on what brand of toilet paper to buy! regaurding owcp, and the usps, everyone of us are worhless, and foremost, we are liars and cheats and worthy of the inspection service spying on us for life!In stead of paying they will hold out in hope’s that you give up, or better yet die.

  5. In 2007 the Upland Ca. 91786 postmaster discriminated against me and asked federal agents (OIG) to investigate me, my children, and my wife without cause… She said that I was an EEO advocate and that I was friends with other EEO advocates.

    She gave my job to her son in law who still works in Upland today.

    Because of her discriminatory actions, I got sick and when out on “stress”. On or about October of 2011, we had a 54 year old Upland postal employee die of what I believe to be in part “job related stress”. That’s how bad it is at the Upland post office.

    An EEOC judge ruled that the Upland postmaster discriminated against me. Look up EEOC case Nos. 480-2007-00497X, 480-2008-00026X, 480-2008-00145X.

    I submitted my Workman’s Comp claim in 2007, and it was denied over and over again. On 7/15/2011, DOL approved my claim, but as of 12/1/2011, I have not received any money.

    Who can afford to hold out for 4 years without pay; please some one fix the system.

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