Questions About Insurance Access & Unions? Contact Labor United
As long as labor unions and union building have been around – since the Revolutionary War – they’ve been using their collective voice to improve the quality of workers’ lives. Labor unions have fought for safer workplaces and working conditions for union workers – and won. They’ve battled for higher wages – and won. They’ve argued for shorter workdays and longer vacations – and won. The benefits of unions don’t stop there.
Labor Unions Offer Insurance at Lower Rates
Insurance – particularly health insurance – is a big concern to Americans. Those Americans who belong to a labor union have an advantage over nonunion workers when it comes to insurance. Not only do unions provide insurance for workers, but they often provide it at lower costs than for nonunion workers.
Here are just a few examples of insurance benefits that may be available to union workers:
Union Workers Receive Superior Access to Health Insurance from Labor Unions
More than 92 percent of union workers have jobs that provide them with health insurance as opposed to 68 percent for workers that do not participate in labor unions. Some union workers have access to health care benefits for their domestic partners as well, and in many cases their employers pay more of the cost for health insurance and health care than their nonunion counterparts receive.
Labor Unions Help Workers Earn Supplemental Life & Accident Insurance Policies
The AFL-CIO, for example, offers a Union Plus program that provides supplemental life and accident policies for union workers. Auto, homeowners and renters’ insurance programs are also available, as are vision, dental, prescription drugs and various retiree health insurance plans.
Have an Illness or Injury? The Role Labor Unions Play in Disability Insurance Coverage
When a union worker becomes disabled because of an illness or injury, the labor union often steps in to help the union worker apply for government disability benefits such as Social Security. Labor unions may help them find an advocate or attorney who can coordinate disability insurance benefit packages from Social Security, union-provided programs and employer packages to maximize compensation. If a union worker becomes disabled, he or she may be able to receive:
- Monthly disability income
- Medical benefits after a waiting period (usually 24 months)
- Extended COBRA benefits from an employer
- Dependent benefits for minor children
- Prescription drug benefits after a waiting period (usually 24 months)
In tandem with regular disability benefits, members of unions that participate in Union Plus have access to related benefits that can help families while members are unable to work: mortgage assistance, disability grants and credit counseling.
Union Workers Receive Additional Protections from Workers’ Compensation
Like all employees, union members are entitled to workers’ compensation if they are injured on the job. The difference, though, is that union members may have more rights and protections than regular “at-will” employees. Collective bargaining agreements, also known as labor contracts between the labor union and employee, establish rights regarding workers’ compensation and other benefits. In addition, some union workers may also receive benefits from work-related injuries through the union’s welfare fund.
Union Members Pay Lower Insurance Premiums
Another advantage of union membership is paying lower insurance premiums. Many with individual coverage pay no insurance premiums, and others pay much less than nonmembers. Even for family coverage, the insurance rate is less for union members.
Labor unions are good for America and all workers – not just union members. But because of collective bargaining in which unions have negotiated with employers, union members reap the most benefits, from better insurance with lower costs to higher wages to guaranteed pensions. Thanks to unions and their benefits, the playing field for workers overall becomes elevated and everybody wins.
To learn more about unions and the countless benefits they provide, contact Labor United.