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Don’t Miss Out on the Benefits of Member Assistance Programs

LIUNA General Secretary-Treasurer and LHSFNA Labor Co-Chairman Armand E. Sabitoni

When LIUNA members come across hazards on the job, they have channels to make their voices heard and correct the issue. But where do members turn when they’re dealing with personal problems or problems at home that lead to stress and distractions at work or elsewhere in their lives?

Member assistance programs (MAPs), also referred to as employee assistance programs (EAPs) are an optional benefit that can be sponsored by LIUNA health and welfare funds. MAPs help LIUNA members and their families address a wide variety of mental health and family issues, including substance misuse, financial problems, stress management and relationship problems. MAPs generally offer short-term and solution-focused counseling for these and many other issues, although the services offered can vary from program to program.

“The health and well-being of our members is a priority for LIUNA.” says LIUNA General Secretary-Treasurer and LHSFNA Labor Co-Chairman Armand E. Sabitoni. “MAP programs stand ready to assist our members, whether the issue is happening at home or on the job site. Since their inception MAP services have proved invaluable to many members and their families.”

Utilizing a MAP offers a number of additional benefits for both labor and management, including LIUNA health and welfare funds, District Councils, Local Unions, signatory contractors and members.

Benefits for Health and Welfare Funds

  • MAPs help health and welfare funds offer quality care at an affordable cost. Members and their families who use MAP services for substance abuse and related issues tend to file fewer and less expensive health insurance claims.
  • MAPs can monitor progress as individuals move through treatment and recovery, improving patient outcomes and further lowering costs through reduced relapse rates.

Benefits for District Councils and Local Unions

  • The existence of a MAP helps show that the union cares about the mental health and well-being of members and their families as much as it does about members having a safe work environment.
  • MAP services make it easier for District Councils and Local Unions to find and maintain employment for members whose productivity could suffer without assistance.
  • MAPs are a great resource for business managers and other District Council and Local Union representatives. These programs allow members to get the expert help they need while freeing up union representatives to focus on other tasks and union-related business.

Benefits for Signatory Employers

  • After a positive workplace drug test, MAPs can help connect a worker with assessment and treatment resources based on the situation and need. They can also provide the follow-up monitoring required by many drug-free workplace policies and regulations.
  • MAPs can provide management consultations when a supervisor has concerns about a worker’s performance or behavior. This can be particularly helpful when a supervisor suspects a worker may be using drugs or alcohol.
  • MAP services make it less likely personal issues become a distraction that affect job performance. Employers who use MAPs often see a reduction in absences and tardiness, leading to a more stable workforce.
  • MAPs help ensure members’ problems aren’t ignored. MAP counselors work to address both immediate and underlying issues to help the member resolve the situation or refer them to an appropriate resource.
  • The use of outpatient treatment or community services can help workers stay on the job while still receiving assistance.

Benefits for Members

  • Members are given a way to address a broad set of health, economic and social needs that could otherwise go untreated.
  • Members get professional and confidential assistance.
  • Counselors work to ensure recommended treatments fit the budget, schedule and other specific needs of members.

The opioid epidemic has dramatically increased the need for substance use disorder services across the U.S. This demand, in addition to a growing awareness of the importance of mental health issues in general, is making the services offered by MAPs more valuable than ever.

LIUNA health and welfare funds can contact the LHSFNA’s Health Promotion Division at 202-628-5465 for more information on how a MAP may add value to their fund’s services. Signatory contractors seeking to add a MAP to their existing employee benefits should contact their local health and welfare fund administrator. LIUNA members who want to find out whether they have access to MAP services should ask their Local Union representative or follow up with their health and welfare fund.

[Nick Fox]

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