10 Questions for Union Members When Asking for Help

“When a person tests positive at work and they’re about to be disciplined or suspended, that’s the time that they really need to get in touch with the union, because we have the ability, we know the rights under the law where we can help protect them. And we make sure that they don’t do something worse. That worsens the problem. The best thing to do is contact us and let us get them to professionals who can help straighten them out and take care of all their problems and get them through their difficult time.”

National Vice President and Business Representative

“If an employee comes to us and asks us about a problem, either substance abuse or alcohol or behavioral, you know, we’re there for them. We want our members to know that they don’t have to have any fear because there are their rights under the law, especially with ADA, which the American with disabilities act, which the union, we know the laws, we know how to protect them. And we want to make sure that they have no fear of reprisal that they can reach out to us so we can protect them. So their family and their livelihood can be secure and we can help them over their problems, especially this time during his pandemic.”

National President and National Director of Organizing

“We have members that we represent, where some are struggling with anxiety and things like depression. They are irritable or short with people in their dealings. Feeling overwhelmed as they worry about possibly getting sick or bringing it home to their families. Some are self-medicating or we find some members calling in sick. We have seen members that we represent that, as you would say, have some type of anxiety or paranoid attack at work or just downright can’t take it anymore. They are stressed out from this pandemic and terrified of going to work in some cases. Some terrified of working behind others so to speak or trying to maintain proper social distance for their own situation on the job with co-worker interaction. And so we try to find ways to try and get them to reach out to us so that we can have those conversations with them or to see what kind of help they might need so that they can maintain their employment and not be disciplined while they try and perform their duties at work.”

National Secretary Treasurer and Business Representative

Yes it is because problems escalate step by step. If you don’t address the problem at the beginning, it becomes a bigger problem. Consequently, I will encourage you to simply reach out for help.”

School District Union Steward with 35 years of experience

“Our patients have described being isolated, being stressed out, being anxious, and being depressed around circumstances involving isolation. Usually an anxiety as a precursor to depression. A fear of what’s going to happen. And then if it’s not addressed, eventually, the patient becomes hopeless and develops a sense of depression.”

Dr. Dodge

“Well, people essentially use drugs and alcohol because they like the effect produced by drugs and alcohol. It provides relief. It’s a reward at the end of a busy and difficult day. Uh, the problem becomes, when people start to use drugs and alcohol consistently and cannot stop, even though they want to. And there is also something called the phenomenon of craving, which is a mental obsession paired with a physical compulsion. So repetitive compulsive behaviors, drinking or using drugs, and people find that they cross a line. And what used to be pleasurable now becomes on necessity. And that’s when addiction becomes a dependence.”

Dr. Dodge

“I advise my members to reach out for help proactively whenever you feel overwhelmed or when you realize that you are having problems. Sometimes it is based on your family or friends helping you get to the point of realizing that these problems are affecting your work and your life.”

Business Representative – Teachers Union

“The first step is to talk to your supervisor. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your supervisor, you can request the presence of a business agent from the union immediately…especially if you are afraid to expose yourself in front of your supervisors. Because we will try to help you…”

Business Representative – Sheet Metal Workers

Yes you will be able to maintain privacy. We are bound by federal HIPAA laws and thus HIPAA is our guideline for privacy and protection of patient data. So we take that very seriously.

At Unity Behavioral Health, we understand that communication and coordination of our client’s care is of upmost importance. Our passionate staff directly works with EAPs, MAPs, labor unions, and Substance Abuse Professionals to provide time-sensitive progress reports and high-quality administrative and clinical documentation. We are dedicated to the aftercare planning process to help ensure that employees can continue to fulfill their obligations and do not fall out of compliance once they return to work.

Return To Work and Case Management

Unions and their members are essential to the foundation that keeps America true and free. Noticing the labels of manufacturing companies are just as important to a Union member as it is to a fashion designer – with one huge exception… Made in America, means a commitment – a brotherhood where it goes unspoken for groups of tradespeople and essential workers to believe in family first, and treat each other as a family when in crisis.

Unity Behavioral Health is committed to helping teachers, custodians, clerks, transportation, teamsters, communication workers, longshoremen, flight attendants, rail workers, baggage handlers, 911 operators, carpenters, sheet metal workers, and corrections officers and the like to successfully meet the standards required to get their job back after a discipline action due to alcohol or drug use.

We are committed to working with supervisors and employees through our case management support to achieve recovery from substance misuse or behavioral health issues and help the worker get back to work and family life successfully.

Unity Behavioral Health’s programming is uniquely designed to focus on assisting struggling workers and professionals in obtaining sobriety, reestablishing wellness, and returning to work. Our programming is designed to help workers identify and resolve personal problems that are causing imbalances in their lives and contributing to problems at work.

Educating Employers:

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 70% of the estimated 14.8 million Americans who use illegal drugs are employed. We appreciate that a company’s most valuable asset is its employees and good employees are often irreplaceable. Our vision is to empower those we serve and is built on union principles of solidarity. Difficulties for employees in the workplace can sometimes appear quickly and sometimes slowly.

Substance use among employees can impact the following:

  • Judgement
  • Motor coordination
  • Emotional state
  • Disruptive workplace relationship
  • Safety risks
  • Decreased attention
  • Decreased concentration
  • Absenteeism
  • Decreased productivity
  • Failure to complete tasks.

Employee’s and Worker’s Needing Reinstatement:

Addiction wreaks havoc, not just on body and mind, but also on relationships and day-to-day responsibilities. Sooner or later, addiction inevitably leads to difficulty at work. It is our mission to power with you and not against you. Simply, we want to empower and assist you in improving your quality of life. The COVID 19 pandemic is just exacerbating the difficulties that people are experiencing in the areas of mental health and the patterns of self-medicating that often occur as a result.