Boxer & Gerson Partners Bert Arnold and Maria Sager headed south to Stanford University last week to discuss workers’ compensation with a group of shop stewards from Local 2007 of the Service Employees International Union. The union represents university employees in food services, landscaping, maintenance, custodial services, carpentry and many other jobs.
Shop stewards serve as the leaders of individual worker groups who frequently attend advanced training and educational sessions regarding union activities, rights and responsibilities.
Bert Arnold and Maria Sager
Arnold and Sager teamed up, as is often the case with such visits, to present an overview of worker’s compensation and then more specific information on disability and permanent disability. Stewards take what they have learned back to the workplace to serve as resources for union rank-and-file.
“After the presentation, we were invited back to make another presentation to regular members of Local 2007,” said Sager. “There is a whole world of procedures and protocols to follow when filing a workers’ compensation claim, and the more workers know, the better chance they will have of a successful claim if they are unfortunate enough to suffer an injury in the workplace. We’re always happy to make presentations that will serve that purpose.”
Local 2007 represents workers at both Stanford and the University of Santa Clara. The international union is comprised of just under 1.9 million members who work in more than 100 different occupations in the United States and Canada..
Boxer & Gerson Partner (and avid motorcycle rider) Bert Arnold represented the firm at the Show N’ Shine Toy Drive for the Teamsters Horsemen of Joint Council 7 West (Teamsters Motorcycle Club) last week. The firm was one of the sponsors of this annual event that brings broad smiles to kids—and to plenty of adult motorcycle lovers affiliated with the Teamsters—every holiday season.
The ride is a benefit for the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland where many children stricken with leukemia go to receive state-of-the-art treatment for their illness. The hospital is also a major research center focused on the condition, which is the most common form of childhood cancer and affects some 5,000 children in the U.S. every year.
The Teamsters “Horsemen” take it upon themselves to collect toys from members and friends in the months leading up to the event and then take great pride and pleasure in riding to the hospital en masse to personally deliver toys to the children. Boxer & Gerson takes its own pride in being affiliated with this event and the compassionate men and women of the Teamsters Joint Council who lend their energy and enthusiasm to it.
A portion of the toys ready for delivery by the Teamsters last week
As many as seven Teamsters Union trucks organized by Joint Councils #7
are scheduled to roll toward Houston tomorrow, September 8, loaded with a wide variety of relief supplies desperately needed by victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Among the supplies will be those purchased at a local unionized Costco on behalf of Boxer & Gerson, LLP by Jamie Gerson, wife of the firm’s co-founder Michael Gerson. She went to gather goods soon after receiving a plea sent out by Teamsters officials, then delivered them to a collection point staffed by Teamsters Local 853.
The Oakland-based Local 853 represents more than 11,000 Teamsters members in northern California.
The Teamsters convoy will be escorted by the California Highway Patrol, which offered its assistance in ensuring safe passage to the storm-ravaged area that is only in the very beginning stages of its recovery efforts. The Teamsters Union has been collecting supplies from all available sources in its member network, which includes 100,000 working persons spread across 22 local unions in Joint Council #7 and more than 146,000 members in Joint Council #42.
Among the more acutely needed items are new clothing (including socks and underwear, diapers (for both babies and adults), baby formula, bottled water, protein bars and drinks, work gloves and boots, pet food, disinfectant wipes, shovels, rakes, tarps, batteries and much more.
Items must be delivered to union drop-off sites by the end of today, Thursday, in order to assure departure by Friday. Call Steve Bender for northern California drop-off locations at 707-628-8465, or email@example.com
Jamie Gerson, dropping off some of the supplies donated by Boxer & Gerson to the Teamsters Local 853’s Rodney Smith.
The Member Action Team (MAT), a special contingent from the University of California’s largest employee union, Local 3299 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), invited Boxer & Gerson Partner Maria Sager to address a group conference for the third consecutive year last month in Los Angeles. Sager, a certified workers’ compensation specialist, discussed various aspects of her specialty and its application to work injuries across the 10-campus UC system represented by Local 3299. The local is the largest employee union in the university’s workforce, representing some 24,000 workers.
Sager took the occasion to present a workers’ compensation overview, benefits discussion, and a review of the complexities of injury evaluation by physicians in the workers’ comp system, among other matters. Her audience included MAT members from UC San Francisco, Berkeley, Davis, Los Angeles, San Diego, Irvine, and the UC Center in Sacramento.
The MAt conducts an annual conference alternating between northern and southern California locations. Next year’s conference is in Oakland.
Nationally, the AFSCME represents 1.6 million workers, making it one of the largest unions in the United States.
Maria Sager, second row, right, with group of MAT members at annual conference
Boxer & Gerson, LLP Partners Dennis Popalardo and Gary Roth paid a weekend visit to the Teamsters International Union’s Local 315 in Martinez on Saturday, July 15 to make a presentation to some 50 shop stewards and alternates.
Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist Popalardo and Roth, who practices personal injury law, emphasized the basic do’s and don’ts for workers in both the immediate and longer-term aftermath of suffering a workplace injury. Roth gave special attention to injuries caused by a third party.
Shop stewards are typically charged with learning as much as possible about issues affecting union members in the workplace. Boxer & Gerson attorneys make a regular practice of being available for presentations to stewards across a broad range of industries in the Bay Area.
Local 315 has a venerable history, having been chartered in 1936. It maintains collective bargaining agreements with more than 100 Bay Area companies.
The industries represented within its unit range from package handling and delivery to solid waste and recycling collection, grocery distribution and warehousing, transit, bakeries, construction and building materials, and much else. It represents some 4,500 workers, primarily in Contra Costa, Napa, and Solano counties.
Boxer & Gerson Partners Michael Gerson, Gary Lee, Maria Sager and Gary Roth were joined by Associate Dikla Dolev in addressing an audience of union shop stewards at the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) on Wednesday, July 12.
The veteran attorneys were invited by Union Local 2019 staff, who were joined in the audience by members of Union Local 444. The two unions represent different classes of EBMUD employees.
The event was held at the EBMUD offices in downtown Oakland.
Roth, the only personal injury specialist in the quintet, started off the two-hour program with a review of personal injury law as it applies in the workplace.
He was followed by certified workers’ compensation specialists Sager, who gave an overview of workers’ compensation law, and then Lee, who discussed medical care and temporary/permanent disability.
Gerson, also a certified workers’ compensation specialist, offered his perspectives throughout the program, gleaned from his nearly 40-year tenure as a founding partner of Boxer & Gerson, LLP. Dolev then joined in with her colleagues in the concluding question-and-answer session.
The assembled employees came from a wide variety of jobs, among them engineers, clerks, inspectors, accounting staff, customer service representatives, lab technicians, environmental compliance staff, dispatchers, construction workers, plumbers, concrete finishers, plant operators, information technology workers and more.
Local 2019 is comprised of some 700 EBMUD employees. Both it and Local 444 address the collective bargaining needs of municipal employees working on drinking water and wastewater treatment projects.
EBMUD provides drinking water to 1.4 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, and also operates wastewater treatment facilities that serve 685,000 customers.
Gary Roth (back row, left), Maria Sager and Dikla Dolev (front row left and right), and Michael Gerson (next to Dolev) join some of their audience members from EBMUD after their presentation.
Boxer & Gerson’s All-Star Barbecue Team put together a stellar effort last weekend in the First Annual Teamsters Horsemen Motorcycle Association Chapter 7 BBQ Cook-Off. Five workers’ compensation attorneys from the firm got out to Swiss Park in Newark on a sunny Saturday to help the nonprofit recreational motorcycle group from various Teamsters Union locals around the Bay Area and beyond raise more than $10,000 for the Childhood Leukemia Foundation. The event also included a motorcycle and car show.
The Boxer & Gerson contingent was comprised of (left to right back row in photo above) Warren Pulley, sous chef Justin Litvack, grillmaster Arjuna Farnsworth, sous chef Andrew Levine, and (in front) Dikla Dolev (along with her daughter Adi). Their efforts in producing adobo pork ribs and tri-tip with chimichurri sauce were rewarded with a fifth place ribbon in the hotly contested competition (ambient temperature in the 90s, far hotter above the grills).
Hearty congratulations are in store for the community-minded quintet and their families who supported their weekend charitable activity.
Grillmaster Arjuna Farnsworth applying the finishing touches to his masterpieces.
Boxer & Gerson Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Dennis Popalardo, Deirdre Mochel and Justin Litvack teamed up two nights ago to make a presentation to the Stewards Council of the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 29 at the union’s offices in Oakland. Local 29 represents more than 6,000 office, technical, professional and health care employees at more than 300 workplaces in the Bay Area.
Shop stewards are elected or appointed to represent each workplace in the union. They function as the point person to whom an employee would turn with urgent or even routine issues that come up in the workplace with other members, before or in lieu of the issue being addressed at the union local level. The trio of Boxer & Gerson attorneys thus focused their presentation on making sure the stewards received an accurate overview of workers’ compensation law and various do’s and don’ts when an employee gets injured at work.
Boxer & Gerson attorneys make regular presentations to union and other groups for whom it is imperative that they have a solid understanding of workers’ compensation law. The law also tends to be in flux as new legislation or court decisions interpreting existing law revise its various processes, procedures and applications. Presentations to union stewards are in addition to similar appearances in front of rank-and-file union members, executive boards, and union business agents.
Deirdre Mochel addresses OPEIU shop stewards with help from Justin Litvack (front center). Photos by Dennis Popalardo.
Boxer & Gerson Partner Dennis Popalardo appeared before the Alameda City Council on April 18 in support of a resolution to restore the city’s sworn fire prevention bureau. The professional firefighters who had previously staffed the bureau were from the International Association of Firefighters Local 689. Their positions had been eliminated in 2009 during a round of budget cuts, leaving the city with only one civilian employee fire inspector and an administrative technician. The predictable result was a mounting backlog of inspection needs and potential fire hazards in the city of nearly 80,000 residents.
Fire prevention efforts focus on rigorous and informed inspections of commercial and multi-family residential buildings in order to detect fire safety hazards that tend to grow only more serious over time, as buildings age and new owners or occupants fail to note and follow correct prevention protocols. The Ghost Ship tragedy in Oakland last year, in which 36 people died because of an uninspected converted warehouse that had multiple fire hazards, stands as a prime example of what can occur in the absence of adequate fire prevention efforts.
Popalardo was joined by his Boxer & Gerson colleague Deirdre Mochel’s husband David Mitchell in encouraging the council to restore a more robust fire prevention service. Popalardo has long specialized in representing firefighters who have been injured on the job and require workers’ compensation. Mitchell is a member of the city’s Planning Board and a small business owner.
After discussion that included the fact that much of the cost of a newly expanded prevention bureau would be covered by the fees charged for fire inspections, the council voted to restore three positions that will be filled by sworn firefighters.