From: Yaritza Brinker <YBrinker**At_Symbol_Here**FELE.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Who pays when a graduate student gets hurt?
Date: Mon, 9 Nov 2020 17:56:38 +0000
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**Princeton.EDU>
Message-ID: DM6PR05MB7052226D826F604A112A299FADEA0**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <8E776F3A-3403-42A6-98F4-011D60411A72**At_Symbol_Here**>

Labor laws do vary from state to state. I once got the opportunity to write job descriptions as part of union contract negotiations. In doing so, I learned that the employee classification is tied to the job description. Thus, universities could create a job description to classify graduate students as hourly employees. I do understand that funding can affect what they are entitled to, but that's what we call a benefits package. Treating grad students better than today isn't difficult, it does require universities to change the way they operate.

As for universal healthcare...

Back in 2006 a Canadian colleague made it a point to tell me about their health care system. His friend had fallen from a ladder and broke his arm. The doctor said his arm needed to be re-set, they put him on a sling and told him he had to make an appointment with the specialist. He waited 6 months for the opening, they re-broke his bones and re-set them with pins. It was a full year before he was able to go back to work without restrictions. He told me the doctor shortage in Canada was directly tied to the low government pay the doctors were receiving per procedure. He also told me his take home pay was only 40% of his paycheck primarily because of the taxes to cover healthcare.

Back in 2010 a Chinese friend had a cavity on his molar. He declined our US employer's dental insurance (which was really good) and was astonished at the out of pocket cost of the filling. He had plans to visit his family in China in about 3 weeks, so he chose to deal with his cavity pain so that he could have it done for free in China. He returned from his vacation without the tooth... too decayed to salvage. However, the turnaround was good.

In the US, our veterans have government run healthcare. I do have family members who are veterans and are dependent on the VA for healthcare. Feedback isn't stellar by any means.

In short, universal health care is a great idea that can be extremely poorly executed.

Yaritza Brinker

-----Original Message-----
From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety On Behalf Of Reinhardt, Peter
Sent: Saturday, November 7, 2020 11:22 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**Princeton.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Who pays when a graduate student gets hurt?

** External Email **

I just want to say that this is not an issue with grad students in Canada, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy, etc. They have nationalized health services. If a person gets injured, they are cared for. It doesn't matter if they are injured at home or at work. There's no confusing multiple types of coverage, no coverage gaps, no liability worries, no blame game, no lawyers, etc. I care about everyone's health, and nearly all developed countries have found a university health plan less wasteful, lower cost, more efficient and produce better health outcomes for the entire population. I know it‰??s a crazy idea.


•ČŔOn 11/7/20, 6:30 AM, "ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety on behalf of Stuart, Ralph" wrote:

> >What is happening is due to the way labor laws classify employees. Employees are either exempt (salary), non-exempt (hourly), or independent contractors. Students are classified as independent contractors. Whether or not the employer issues a W2 is irrelevant to the employee‰??s classification.
Unfortunately, because labor laws and workers compensation regulations are administered on a state by state basis and interpreted by employers and relevant insurance companies, this summary is too broad to describe individual cases. In some situations, at some institutions, students may be treated as independent contractors, but in many cases they are considered employees, with the same legal rights and responsibilities as other employees. This can vary by funding source. For example, my son currently has a NSF fellowship for graduate study and is considered an employee of the federal government in some, but not all, respects.

Of course, these rights and responsibilities can be impacted by union contracts for specific groups within the institution. For example at Keene State we have 4 separate union contracts associated with faculty and various segments of the staff.

In sum, there are few general principles that apply across the academic workforce and this situation seems to be spreading with the rise of the gig economy. See
for the latest on this.

- Ralph

Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Environmental Safety Manager
Keene State College
603 358-2859


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