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

- ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION-ADR- SYSTEM


The UCWCP’s exclusive and binding process for streamlining claim disputes is a faster, more efficient and more intuitive alternative to the state-run system. Our ADR system has four steps that are clearly outlined and do not require the filing of complex forms to get help. Our trustees refer to it as, “1-800-I’ve Got A Problem”.

With one point of entry into the ADR system, there is clarity and ease of access for all parties. Furthermore, no attorney is required until binding arbitration, although either the employee or employer/insurer may retain an attorney at any point in the claim.

If a claim does need to be litigated, the statutory system can take up to 18 months to get to a hearing. Our ADR system gets to arbitration in as little as 18 to 24 weeks. The ADR system must be used by all parties, and arbitration decisions are binding subject to appellate review by the MN Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals. Here is a comparison of UCWCP v. MN statutory dispute resolution systems.

The UCWCP has had less than 35 arbitrations out of 14,000 claims. Here are claims and dispute statistics for the UCWCP since our inception in 1997. The UCWCP has had approximately 300% fewer formal disputes than the statutory system.

THE UCWCP ADR SYSTEM



• Intervention:

If you have a question or concern about a workers’ compensation claim you should contact the Dispute Resolution Facilitator. This service is at no cost and is available to participating contractors, union members, insurers and any legal representatives. The facilitator will assist in resolving the question or concern by contacting others involved as necessary. Most issues are resolved in this way. If intervention does not resolve the issue a facilitation session can be requested.



• Facilitation:

Facilitation is an informal meeting of the parties to discuss the issues involved in a case. The purpose of the facilitation is to provide informal resolution. If the parties reach an agreement a written document may be prepared to formalize the terms if necessary. If the agreement requires the approval of an arbitrator the parties prepare the written document for a formal review and Award. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the facilitator may issue a determination which is binding on the parties subject to a request for mediation or arbitration, or the facilitator can send the matter directly to arbitration under certain circumstances. Legal counsel may attend facilitations, but it is not required.



• Mediation:

Mediation is usually voluntary and occurs within 21 days of a request for Mediation. This meeting is held with an experienced workers' compensation litigation attorney under contract to the Trustees, and is usually selected by agreement of the parties. The purpose of mediation is to attempt to settle the dispute, or the entire case, by providing confidential assistance to each of the parties. If the parties reach an agreement they prepare the written document for the mediator’s review and Award. If the parties cannot reach an agreement they can apply for arbitration if one is necessary. Legal counsel may attend mediations, but it is not required.



• Arbitration:

Arbitration is similar to an administrative hearing and can be held within several days of the request for arbitration, unless additional discovery is required. In all cases, only the arbitrator may approve a continuance of the arbitration. A court reporter records the hearing and prepares a transcript if necessary. The parties submit evidence and provide testimony subject to cross-examination at the hearing. The arbitrator's decision is rendered within 10 days of the arbitration and is binding subject to an appeal to the Minnesota Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals. The arbitrator has the same authority as a judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings. The arbitrator is an experienced workers' compensation litigation attorney under contract to the Trustees. Selection of the arbitrator is done by rotation assignment subject to a strike by each party. Legal counsel is required for arbitration.



Here is a copy of the UCWCP Rules and Regulations.