How Does Union Membership Impact a Worker’s Compensation Claim?

unionUnion workers, like any other employers, are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured on the job. Union workers often have more rights and protections than traditional “at-will” employees, however, because they are subject to a collective bargaining agreement, which can impact workers’ compensation claims and benefits. Additionally, a union worker who is injured on the job may also be entitled to benefits provided by the union welfare fund.

 

Benefits under a Collective Bargaining Agreement

A collective bargaining agreement, which is also known as a labor contract, is a contract between the union and the employer that sets forth certain rights and obligations regarding workers’ compensation benefits, wages, working hours, grievances procedures, and other rights for union members. Collective bargaining agreements also provide certain responsibilities of the labor organizations in relation to union member employees, as well as procedures for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

In some cases, the workers’ compensation provisions of a collective bargaining agreement will be the same as state law, but in some cases, the procedures may be slightly different. It is important to closely review the collective bargaining agreement to understand the rights, benefits, and procedures for obtaining workers’ compensation benefits.

Benefits through the Union Welfare Fund

In some cases, injured workers may also have rights and benefits through their union’s welfare fund. Typically, the employer contributes funds to the union welfare fund, which is administered by union trustees. Union welfare funds may provide benefits to union members for work-related injuries, as well as health care, dental care, paid leave, retirement/pension, unemployment, disability payments, and life insurance. Oftentimes, a labor union will have a separate pension fund for its member employees that provides additional protections if a union worker is injured on the job.

 

How a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help

The types of benefits, union responsibilities, and claim procedures differ depending on the labor organization to which an injured worker belongs so it is important to consult with a lawyer who understands both labor unions and workers’ compensation. The Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers at Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck focus on helping injured union workers, including airline workers and members of other labor unions, obtain the benefits that they deserve after a work-related accident or injury.

We have decades of experience prosecuting all types of work-related injuries. We represent several major labor unions in a variety of industries, and we are highly practiced in working with union workers in workers’ compensation claims. We will communicate with your union representative and employer, advise you of your rights under the collective bargaining agreement and welfare fund, advise you of your rights under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, help you prepare and file the appropriate and necessary claim documentation, and advocate on your behalf in any legal proceedings in an effort to help you obtain the maximum recovery possible.

Contact us at (800) 444-1525 for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers.