Work injuries can be stressful. Especially as the medical costs and lost wages begin to pile up. Fortunately, some states, including Illinois, require all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
Employers who are non-compliant risk paying steep fines starting at around $10,000. This is a blanket policy which means that every worker in the state of Illinois is covered if they are injured at work or develop an occupational illness.
But what if you’re a member of a union? Unions affect workers’ compensation benefits in a handful of ways. Unions often have their own labor contracts which outline the workers’ compensation benefits that a member will receive. These policies are often similar to the state’s but in some cases may offer additional compensation for union members.
Table of Contents:
- Unions Reduce the Need for Workers’ Compensation
- Collective Bargaining Agreements in Workers’ Compensation Claims
- Additional Benefits For Injured Union Workers
- Should Injured Union Workers Hire an Attorney?
How Unions Reduce the Need for Workers’ Compensation
If more workers are injured at work, workers’ compensation insurance premiums go up for employers. Unions help to reduce the need for workers’ compensation all together by demanding safer work environments for workers.
Unions are known to push for better safety standards, training, and equipment for employees. By doing so, they help reduce the likelihood of workplace injuries occurring in the first place.
This does not only benefit union workers but also non-union workers. Agreements between the employer and the union often set the standard for all employees. Ultimately, it is in the best interest of the employer to reduce the need for workers’ compensation as it prevents their insurance premiums from increasing. It’s a win-win for everyone.
All that being said, if you are injured at work, do not hesitate to use this valuable resource. These policies are in place to protect you. Feeling guilty over your employer’s costs should never affect your decision to pursue the compensation that is rightfully yours. They will be just fine.
Collective Bargaining Agreements in Workers’ Compensation Claims
Unions engage in collective bargaining agreements with employers to negotiate the best procedures for collecting workers’ compensation benefits for their members. Illinois has over 200 labor unions all with their own collective bargaining agreement. While collective bargaining is helpful, it also means that union members must adhere to the guidelines detailed their contracts.
If you feel as though your are being pressured not to file or that your employer wrongfully denied your claim, Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers would be happy to step in and advocate for your rights on your behalf.
This can become a bit complicated when applying for workers’ compensation as a union member. To make sure you are maximizing your benefits and not violating any contract agreements, it’s best to contact your union rep and a workers’ compensation attorney to help you through the process. They can help you understand the details of your labor contract and the rights that are legally yours.
Additional Benefits For Injured Union Workers
the amount of compensation provided by these programs may not be sufficient to cover the full extent of the worker’s financial needs. As a result, unions have become increasingly involved in providing additional benefits to their members. These benefits can range from financial assistance to medical care and job training programs.
One example of a union benefit program is the welfare fund. Welfare funds are non-profit organizations that are established by unions to provide additional benefits to their members.
These funds are usually funded through a combination of employer contributions, union dues, and investment returns. The primary goal of welfare funds is to provide financial assistance to union members who are unable to work due to injury or illness.
In addition to disability benefits, welfare funds may also provide pension benefits to injured workers who are forced to retire early due to their injuries. Pension benefits can help injured workers manage their finances during retirement and provide financial security for themselves and their families.
Should Injured Union Workers Hire an Attorney?
Union workers have the added benefit of having a union representative who can help them receive their workers’ comp benefits. However, some cases may not be as straightforward as others and since union reps are not lawyers, they are limited in how they can advocate for you should things go sideways.
Remember that union members must be in compliance with their contracts. Breaching this contract could jeopardize your chances of receiving and maximizing the benefits you deserve.
If you’ve been denied your workers’ compensation benefits or you know that your case may be more complicated than others, it may be worth hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer. Or if you want to increase the likelihood that you’ll receive your maximum benefits, consider having an attorney in your corner
At Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers, we are passionate about supporting hard-working union members who get hurt on the job. If an accident happens at work, we want to help you through this. Call (312) 600-6000 for a FREE consult today.