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Labor unions have been around for decades, and they have helped usher in many positive changes for workers in America, including the eight-hour workday, weekends off, the end of child labor, employer-based healthcare coverage, a minimum wage, and the establishment of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Workers’ compensation benefits have also had many positive effects on American workers, especially those who work in dangerous occupations that put them at high risk of serious and disabling injuries. A form of workers’ compensation was first established in Europe in the late 1800s, and by the turn of the 20th century, workers’ compensation laws passed in many states throughout the U.S.
There’s no denying the impact that both labor unions and workers’ compensation have had on American workers, but how do they intersect—and does belonging to a union affect your workers’ compensation eligibility?
If you belong to a labor union, whether it’s an autoworker union, a teacher’s union, an emergency responder union, or a trade union, you’re still eligible to apply for and receive workers’ compensation benefits after a work-related injury.
The biggest way that unions can affect workers’ compensation benefits is by making them less necessary by reducing the risk of injuries. Unions have forced entire industries to adopt stricter safety policies, training, guidelines, and equipment to protect workers. And the safer and more well-trained workers are when doing their jobs, the less likely they are to get hurt and need to file workers’ compensation claims.
Although union members are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits just as non-union members are eligible, they may have to follow different guidelines. That’s because unions have contracts with employers called collective bargaining agreements.
These contracts include many rules and provisions, and they often include stipulations and requirements for workers’ compensation benefits after injuries. In other cases, the collective bargaining agreements may differ only slightly or not at all from state requirements.
If you get hurt on the job and are a union member, you should:
In addition to being eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, many union workers are also eligible to receive money through their unions’ welfare funds. These funds distribute money for things such as health care, dental care, paid leave, retirement/pension, unemployment, disability payments, life insurance, and work-related injury costs.
Workers’ compensation claims are complex, regardless of union status. But if you are a union member and get hurt on the job, it’s especially important to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney help you through the application process. That’s because you may be subject to additional requirements for getting your claim approved, and as with non-union applications, one small mistake or oversight in your application can result in a delay at best and a rejection at worst.
The legal team at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy cares about Ohio’s workers, especially when they get injured on the job. Contact us today for a free consultation. We’ll collect evidence that proves your injury occurred at work, and we’ll work hard to get you the money you’re entitled to receive.
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