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Will Applying for Workers’ Compensation Affect Your Union Status?

Union YesIf you are a member of a union and you are injured on the job, you may be concerned about whether going out on disability will impact your union status. Not only do you have nothing to fear on that front, but you are likely to find yourself in a better position than nonunion employees do.  As a dues-paying union member, your ability to be approved for workers’ compensation following a workplace injury is statistically far greater than is true of nonunion workers.

A study published in the Industrial and Labor Relations Review revealed that over a 15-year period, union workers had a 60 percent greater chance of receiving workers’ compensation payments than nonunion workers. There are a few reasons for this, including the following:

  • Unless they go to a workers’ compensation attorney, nonunion employees have only employer representatives to provide them with information about their rights and the documentation and application process. Though employers are required by law to compensate injured workers for on-the-job injuries, they often try to discourage these claims in subtle (and not so subtle) ways.
  • Union workers have representatives available to them who will provide the essential information about filing claims, the benefits available to them, and more.
  • Union supervisors are far more likely to encourage their workers to take advantage of workers’ compensation benefits than is true of nonunion supervisors.
  • Union contracts often have special terms that ensure that union members who are injured on the job face less confrontation, monitoring and questioning than their nonunion colleagues are subjected to.
  • Union members tend to feel more confident in their ability to claim the benefits provided by workers’ compensation and are less concerned about being penalized, having work assignments taken away, or losing their status than is true of nonunion employees. They have a strong sense of “someone having their back,” where nonunion employees tend to feel more vulnerable.

If you are a union member who has been injured on the job, going to your union supervisor to report what has happened will ensure that you are well-informed and prepared and that you are likely to get the benefits you deserve. If you do not have the benefit of having this kind of built-in advocate, you are encouraged to seek guidance from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.