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I'm a union worker who got hurt at work. Now we're on strike. Can I get workers comp benefits if the union is on strike?

In DC if you were hurt on the job and now the union is on strike, you can get workers comp benefits.

Here's how it works.  If you are a union worker and were hurt working in D.C. you should be getting workers comp benefits (monetary and medical treatment) every week while you can't go back to work because of your injuries.  If you are getting temporary total disability benefits because your doctor says you can't do any work at all then it really doesn't matter that the union is on strike and there is no work available.

This would be the same if your doctor released you to light duty but there was no light duty in the trade (this is pretty common).  If your employer can't provide light duty work within your restrictions, then you should be getting your full benefits.

But what if you were working light duty and the union went on strike?

Wouldn't your employer say we were providing work within your doctor's restrictions but it's not our fault the union went on strike? Of course they would, but I don't think it matters.

Light duty work wouldn't be available for you under that circumstance, so your benefits should continue or be re-started.  There hasn't been a case directly addressing this and it may take some convincing to get the employer and workers comp insurance company to get your benefits going again.

The best argument probably comes from a case that involved an average weekly wage calculation - remember, in D.C., your workers comp benefits are based on the average of all the income (including overtime, differential, bonuses, etc.) you earned during the 26 weeks before the injury.  A union worker didn't work for several weeks before he got hurt because his union was on strike, so he had $0 income for those weeks.  When he got hurt after returning to work (the strike had ended) the insurance company tried to calculate his average weekly wage by using $0 for those weeks, bringing the average way down (and drastically reducing the amount of his benefits).

The Court said no - you don't count those weeks in the average because you can't make a union worker cross the picket line - it's not fair to penalize the worker for a strike. 

A back injury at work, a torn rotator cuff, a knee injury - whatever the type of injury, if it happened at work, find out about everything that's available for you and your family.  Workers comp is a complicated system, and if there is money involved, the insurance company is going to fight you for it, simple as that.

Questions about your injury and workers comp benefits? Call us at 202-393-3320 to order one of our free, no obligation books or guides that can help you and your family.