SEIU (Service Employees International Union) is one of the nation’s largest unions representing over two million healthcare workers, hospital workers, home caregivers, nursing home workers and childcare workers in North America. Union members consist of front-line caregivers who provide environmental and dietary services along with nursing staff and respiratory care practitioners.
The union boasts a diverse membership where 55 percent of its members are female, and 40 percent are racial and ethnic minorities. The SEIU has more immigrant members than any other union in North America.
Union Job vs. Non-Union Job
The Bureau of Labor Statistics published a report in January 2011 on the median weekly earnings of workers in union jobs versus non-union workers. The report revealed that non-union workers made 28% less in weekly wages compared to union workers at an amount equal to $10,400 less salary every year. At the time of the report was released, union workers were earning $4.95 more every hour on average compared to non-union workers which equal approximately $165 more every week or about $650 every month.
Additionally, many more union workers receive medical benefits compared to peers not affiliated with the union. Individuals working in a non-union job are more likely to be fired from their occupation for no reason because they are usually hired “at will.” Employers with union workers cannot terminate an employee for any discriminatory reason including age, religion, creed, race or other. Also, whistleblowers in union jobs are protected from being fired for speaking out about their employer’s wrongdoing.
A union can be a powerhouse because of their strength of numbers. As a large cohesive group, union workers can act and bargain collectively when negotiating wages, benefits, safety issues, health concerns, and working conditions.
However, every union worker must pay dues and initiation fees that could total as much as several hundred dollars every year. Also, most union workers lose their autonomy. If the union worker disagrees with the decisions and bargaining made by their union, they are still bound to accept and follow them.
Additionally, union workers often do not feel like a partner who is working with an employer or management through a trusting environment at work. Seniority is a major benefit to a union worker who has been at their job for many years. This is because many bargaining agreements require new employees with less seniority to be laid off first even if they are more qualified than employees who are allowed to remain behind in their job. In many states, including Illinois, the political climate can quickly change and legislate against the interest of unions and members.
Both union workers and non-union workers are covered by Workmen’s Compensation to cover any work-related illness or on the job injury. However, unions often provide additional benefits to pay the injured employee more than what Workmen’s Comp. covers, which are usually limited to medical expenses and paid time off.
Chicago Area Members and Union Headquarters
Most of the more than 91,000 union members in Northeast Illinois live and work across Chicagoland area, providing essential care to seniors, children, individuals with disabilities and patients at home, in the hospital, at childcare homes and nursing facilities. The local union headquarters in the Chicago metropolitan area include:
Illinois State Council, SEIU
111 E. Wacker Dr.
Chicago, IL 60601
SEIU Healthcare Illinois
2229 S. Halsted
Chicago, IL 60608
Chicago and Midwest Regional Joint Board
333 S. Ashland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60607
SEIU Local 1
180 W. Park Ave.
Elmhurst, IL 60126
Metal Engravers Local 34Z
411 N. Ash
Wood Dale, IL 60191
National Benefit Fund
The SEIU provides members medical benefits with access to quality professional health care providers that are affiliated with the union. As a community-based organization, the SEIU Benefits Center assists members who wish to enroll in the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace that receives funding through the Illinois Department of Public Health Affordable Care Act (ACA). The benefits include obtaining medical and health coverage for daycare workers, union families, and other consumers.
Union members and their family members are required to obtain health coverage through an affordable health care plan including coverage under a private plan, the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, or All Kids that are available through the Illinois health insurance marketplace. These plans offer essential health benefits and cover primary care services, many of which are provided without an additional cost.
Any union member who is injured while working in any capacity of doing their work or suffers from a job-related illness is covered if they file a Worker’s Compensation (Workmen’s Comp.) claim with their employer. The program provides basic financial compensation to cover health benefits and lost wages related to the union member’s condition.
Following the seven most important steps to take after suffering an injury at work can minimize the possibility of your claim for compensation being denied by the insurer. These steps include:
- Report your injury or illness to your immediate supervisor and complete all necessary injury reports to document what happened as soon as possible. Make copies to keep.
- Even if the injury or illness is minor, obtain medical attention immediately to make sure it is not something more serious. Typically, the employer will send you to see a specific doctor for your initial appointment who will diagnose the problem, document your injuries in your medical record and provide the paperwork you will need to give to your supervisor. Be advised; union members have the right to choose their physician for all appointments and follow-up visits after the first one. However, your chosen physician must be affiliated with Worker’s Compensation through the program’s provider network and must be currently accepting new patient cases.
- Tell your doctor all important information about your work injury or illness. Talk about the pain, discomfort or infection you experience in any and every area of your body, even if the pain and discomfort are mild.
- Report every injury, discomfort or pain. A seemingly minor injury might appear to be incidental. However, not reporting it could dramatically impact your case for compensation. Instead of telling the doctor that the intense pain in your back woke you up, describe how the pain is associated with lifting care patients at your job. Describe how heavy lifting is a part of your job requirements when performing your duties at work.
- Obtain a copy of your medical records from every doctor you see so you can send the paperwork to the insurance carrier handling your claim.
- Make a copy of the original work disability slip you received from the doctor to give your supervisor and keep the original for your records.
- It is crucial to save all correspondence between you and the insurance company and you and your employer.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you are a SEIU member and have suffered an injury or illness associated with your job, the Chicago attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can help. Our law firm has represented union workers who were suffering from a job-related illness or injured in all different scenarios including repetitive motion injury, fractured bones, slips and falls, herniated discs and crushing accidents.
Our experienced lawyers assist our clients when filing a Workman’s Compensation claim to ensure they follow Illinois law to receive their benefits. We know that making a mistake or error on the worker’s compensation claim paperwork can result in the union member being denied the benefits they deserve.
Our law office offers a “No Win/NO Fee” Guarantee, meaning if we are unable to secure monetary recovery through available workman’s comp benefits or a third-party lawsuit, you pay us nothing. Contact our worker’s compensation lawyers today by filling in the online form or calling us at (888) 424-5757 now.