Dear Teamsters members,

On December 15th, MassDOT expanded the use of WorkPartners, the third-party administrator, to request extended medical leaves and for reporting day-to-day sick call. Members are given a choice to use a self-service portal or call in their requests on a recorded line.

Teamsters have NOT agreed to the use of this third-party vendor. Your Union believes that compelling a member to use this platform to access your contractual benefits is at the very least a change in working conditions but could additionally be a breach of your rights.

When the self-serve portal came on-line, Teamsters had an opportunity to read the “Terms of Use” and discovered that by agreeing to the terms, members will allow WorkPartners access to data not related to your need for leave. Under the Terms and Conditions of the WorkPartners portal, the use of their system allows access to GPS and other geolocation of the device being used, access to the camera, photo album, contacts and other websites used by the device, and monitoring and recording of other information, usage trends, and device activity to target information to the user. Moreover, the Terms and Conditions also includes language pertaining to the storage, sharing, and use of information provided to subsidiary and related companies to WorkPartners. Additionally, Teamsters have NOT agreed to voice recording of our members and we have NOT agreed to the collection of data pertaining to your leave requests.

Because MassDOT is moving forward despite our objections, the Union is advising members to comply with the direction from the employer(s) to use WorkPartners so that your requested leave(s) will not be in jeopardy and to give WorkPartners any information you feel is necessary to facilitate your leave and that you are comfortable sharing with this third party. 

However, two important things you need to know about your interactions with Workpartners are:

First, there is a form entitled “Authorization to Release” Information that will be given to you when you apply for extended benefits. By signing this document, you give WorkPartners the right to call and speak to your healthcare provider about your condition or your family member’s condition. WorkPartners can ask any question they believe to be necessary to clarify and/or authenticate your leave request. The Union would advise you NOT to sign this document unless WorkPartners articulates the specific reason why they must speak to your medical provider. If you are uncomfortable or question having WorkPartners contact your medical provider, please reach out to your Union representative. 

Second, when calling in to WorkPartners to report a leave, or when using the self-serve portal for day-to-day sick calls, you may give WorkPartners any information you feel necessary; however, if you are uncomfortable giving out detailed information when you are asked the reason for your need for leave, you can answer by saying "I choose not to disclose". This answer is consistent with current WorkPartners training documents. Please remember that all calls to the WorkPartners phone number will be recorded, and any information provided via phone or the portal is currently being documented. 

In solidarity,

George E. McGilloway
Principal Executive Officer
Teamsters Local, 127