Labor Unions and Workers’ Compensation
American labor unions have seen a quick decline in membership for years, but a recent report shows that the diminishing membership has halted, for now.
The amount of American workers who belong to labor unions stayed the same in 2013, at 11.3% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
According to a recent article from the LA Times, the report showed gains in some parts of the country, including the South. Other parts of the country showed declines in membership, like California.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that union members have higher median weekly earnings than non-union members. Full-time union workers earned $950 per week compared to $750 per week for non-union workers, according to the article.
But how do labor unions affect worker’s compensation?
Labor unions often support safety improvements in the workplace that provide a benefit to the members and assists the employer in lowering the cost of worker’s compensation.
In states where employers do not hold open a job for an injured employee, labor unions can help by forming a labor agreement that will hold the injured person’s job open until they have recovered.
It is sometimes said that union members receive more in workers’ compensation payments that non-union members, suggesting that the unions sometimes create increased waste in the workers’ compensation system; but we doubt that. Unions usually exist to serve their members (in part by getting them to back their union-scale jobs as soon as possible and providing supplemental benefits in the meantime).
Although labor unions can be helpful in the process of worker’s compensation, any questions about worker’s compensation should be directed to an experienced attorney. A union representative will not have the expertise or knowledge that a specialist in workers’ compensation law has. We at Heiting & Irwin have just such a specialist, one of a select few in the state.