Does Union Membership Affect Workers’ Compensation?

Union Factors That Affect Workers' Comp Benefits

With over 1,750 active labor unions in Chicago and surrounding areas, these groups have immense power in the public and private sectors. Although Illinois law stipulates that nearly every employee is entitled to be covered by workers’ compensation, the benefits that a worker may receive can vary based on multiple circumstances—including whether or not the individual is a member of a union.

As an injured worker, it’s essential to understand what may play a role in how much compensation may be received following an injury. Here is what you need to know about how being involved in a labor union could affect your benefits.

Insurance Policies May Vary by Union

Each labor union may have its own insurance policy that provides coverage for workplace injuries in addition to the state-mandated Workers' Compensation insurance. This means that if you are injured at work, you may be able to receive benefits from both your union's insurance policy and the Workers' Compensation system. The amount in benefits you receive will depend on the specifics of your injury and the terms of your union's insurance policy.

Collective Bargaining Agreements

It is important to note that being in a labor union comes with the benefit of collective bargaining. Under a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), union workers may be entitled to different benefits than non-union workers.

These contracts between an employer and union outline the policies an employer must adhere to, including the terms and conditions of employment, hour restrictions, wages, and more. They also often contain the Workers' Compensation benefits the employee is entitled to receive if injured on the job. While this will usually be similar to the state guidelines, a CBA may include member-specific items.

Additionally, unions often negotiate for their members to receive better health insurance coverage. In some cases, it may be mandatory that unions have healthcare benefits in their bargaining. This is important because in some cases, Workers' Compensation will not cover the total cost of an injured worker's medical treatment. Having better health insurance coverage can help to ensure that injured workers can get the treatment they need.

Union Representation Throughout the Process

Union members who are injured at work may also benefit from working with a union representative throughout the duration of their claim. This person can help ensure that you receive all the benefits you are entitled to in the CBA. Additionally, they can help guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

It is important to note that not all labor unions provide representation for their members' Workers' Compensation claims. If your union does not offer this service, you can consider other options, like obtaining personal legal assistance through a workers’ compensation law firm.

Chicago Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

While being in a labor union does not guarantee that an injured worker will receive more benefits than non-union workers, several factors can affect the amount and type of benefits you may be entitled to. If you are in a workplace accident that results in injury, it is crucial to speak to your union representative or a Workers' Compensation attorney to ensure that you are getting all the benefits you deserve.

The Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at Leonard Law Group have been representing injured workers throughout the state of Illinois for more than two decades. With over 35,000 clients represented and $750 million recovered in verdicts and settlements, we have the legal knowledge and experience to help you have a successful outcome. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (312) 487-2513 or filling out this short form.

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