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AFT Announcements Local News

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW

Gone are the old laws regarding Workers’ Compensation. On Wednesday, February 12, 2020, Public Law 35-65 and Public Law 35-66 were signed into effect by Acting Governor Joshua Tenorio. The laws, both written by Senator Regine Biscoe Lee, will strengthen and modernize the island’s laws that have remained stagnant for 30 years.

“This needed lifeline is now going to be automatically updated whenever the minimum wage rises — an incremental process that is fair to both employer and employee. These new laws show the transformative good that happens when active stakeholders are met by a legislative will to do what’s right,” Senator Lee said.

With the passage of the laws, employees will finally have fair disability and death benefits, and employers can now count on a more timely adjudication process.

“I want to thank Senator Lee, who has always been an advocate for working families and small businesses, for leading this effort once again,” said Acting Governor Joshua Tenorio. I am also grateful to her colleagues for recognizing that now was the time to act. Those receiving benefits were injured on the job and they shouldn’t be injured twice because our government failed to adjust these rates after more than 30 years.”

GFT President Sanjay Sharma was also instrumental in helping these bills become law as he recommended a higher maximum weekly compensation to further protect employees.

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AFT Announcements Local News

SAVE THE DATE: GFT’S 13TH ANNUAL CONVENTION

GFT’s 13th Annual Convention will be held at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa on Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 6pm. Please email thelma@gftunion.com or contact the GFT Office at 735-4390 to RSVP. The event is free for members!

 

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Guam Port Authority Local News

PORT AUTHORITY NOW HAS FIRST EVER COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT

After more than a decade of negotiating, GFT port members now have their first ever collective bargaining agreement. Effective as of January 20,2020, the CBA covers work hours, scheduling, hazard pay, and various areas of the employee working conditions for all Port Operations and Maintenance employees.

“This is such a historical moment,” said Port Union Chair and Chief Negotiator, David Teixeira. “Finally we have an agreement held to the legal standards that will ensure good and fair working conditions that protect employees.”

The full CBA can be viewed at gftunion.com.

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Announcements GDOE Support Staff GDOE Teachers Local News

GDOE ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR PILOT PREKINDERGARTEN PROGRAM

Prekindergarten is returning to GDOE schools. Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, The Guam Department of Education will have pre-K classes at the following elementary schools:

Finegayan Elementary School: 632-9364

J.Q. San Miquel Elementary School: 477-9368

Lyndon B. Johnson Elementary School: 646-8058

Marcial Sablan Elementary School: 565-2238

Applications will be available at the school sites starting on February 12th. Children must be 4 years old by July 31, 2020 and must live in one of the participating school districts. Parents must provide proof of residency along with the application. The final day to submit applications is April 24.

Due to limited space in each classroom, a lottery will be held to determine a child’s participation if the number of applicants exceeds the number of available slots.

For more information, please contact the participating schools.

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WORKERS’ COMPENSATION VICTORY IN THE LEGISLATURE

On Tuesday, February 4, the Guam Legislature voted to improve Workers’ Compensation. For the first time in 30 years, payment rates will increase. The Bill, 200-35 (COR), proposed by Senator Regine Biscoe Lee, makes the following changes:

  1. Sets the minimum weekly compensation for permanent total disability as 66.75% of the local minimum wage times 20 hours.
  2. Bases all other minimum and maximum compensation amounts to reflect any per centum increases in the prevailing minimum wage.
  3. Authorizing more than just the Guam Memorial Hospital Emergency Room to see government employees who want to file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission;
  4. Implementing a compromise effective date of 120 days after enactment of this law; and
  5. Further adjusting the maximum weekly compensation for disability from $520 to $1,011.

“This safety net is for the families of workers who are injured or die on the job, but for far too long, decades-old rates were paying for today’s costs,” Senator Lee said. “The reforms the Legislature passed today brings our island closer to restoring a promised lifeline, in a way that is as fair and just to all sides of Workers’ Compensation claims.”

Bill No. 201-35 (COR), to modernize the Workers’ Compensation Commission was also passed by the Senators. This measure:

  1. Imposes civil penalties, ranging between $250 to $25,000, for employers who violate the obligations required under Workers’ Compensation; and
  2. Deposits civil penalties into the Guam Workers’ Compensation Special Fund.
  3. Impanels more subject matter experts, which will result in a fairer arbitration process.
  4. Allows for remote attendance by Commission members via telephone or video conference preventing delayed hearings and the resulting increase in legal expenses.

The laws will go into effect 120 days after being enacted.

For more information, please contact the Office of Senator Régine Biscoe Lee at (671) 472-3455 or via email at senatorbiscoelee@guamlegislature.org.