DIR Notes. . .


In other activity involving DIR . . . the Labor Commissioner will accept certain wage claims from union members covered by collective bargaining agreements under a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. In a 9-0 decision on June 13 in Livadas v. Bradshaw, the high court ruled that the National Labor Relations Act allows union members to pursue such claims through the Labor Commissioner, even though collective bargaining agreements provide for arbitration of such disputes. . . .California's requirement that employers carry workers' compensation coverage is not pre-preempted by federal law, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. In Employee Staffing Services v. Aubry, the court ruled that state laws requiring workers' compensation coverage from an insurance carrier or through self insurance are not pre-preempted by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The case involved Stafcor, an employee leasing company in the garment industry. Stafcor challenged California law after the Labor Commissioner issued an order prohibiting the company from using any labor until it secured valid workers' compensation coverage. . . . Concluding a lengthy investigation, Cal/OSHA has cited K&L Plating of Oakland and assessed civil penalties totaling $552,000. In an accident at the electroplating company last September, one employee died and several others were injured after being overcome by cyanide gas. The total penalties are the second largest fine assessed by Cal/OSHA. Federal OSHA also cited K&L Plating with penalties totaling $189,000. . . . The Industrial Medical Council has published a new manual to help treating physicians understand their new and expanded responsibilities under workers' compensation reform. Copies of Physician's Guide to Medical Practice in the California Workers' Compensation System may be obtained from the IMC at P.O. Box 8888, South San Francisco, CA 94128. DOSH continues its investigation into the mysterious fumes case at Riverside General Hospital. In February fumes caused several emergency room staff members to collapse during admission of a dying patient. The emergency room had to be evacuated. DOSH's investigation focuses on adequate protection of the employees' safety and health. . . . The California Apprenticeship Council has approved two parallel apprenticeship programs. At its May meeting in San Francisco the CAC approved plumbers and carpenters apprenticeship programs submitted by the Southern California Associated Builders and Contractors. . . . .The first legal challenge to workers' compensation reform has been dismissed in Sacramento County Superior Court. The California Association of Hospital and Health Systems challenged application of the Official Medical Fee Schedule to outpatient services provided by hospitals, a key cost-saving reform. The association sought to exempt hospital-owned facilities from the fee schedule.