ARH, nurses near end of bargaining time

By Kelsey Gerhardt kgerhardt@civitasmedia.com

April 28, 2014

The Southern United Nurses/National Nurses United Union and ARH Hospital have been negotiating a contract which includes economic issues, staffing and overtime pay.

SUN/NNU announced it will hold a one-day strike by ARH Registered Nurses on Thursday at two of the largest ARH facilities including a site in Hazard and Beckley, W Va.

According to ARH the deadlock is due to the nurses request for triple-pay when working on holidays along with a cumulative 15 percent pay raise spread over three years.

A press release by SUN/NNU says, “the nurses will also protest hospital insistence that they pay up to 22.5 percent more for health care coverage over the next three years, and a proposal to combine their current sick leave, vacation and holidays into one package that reduces and restricts how much time they are able to take off to spend with their families.”

A press release by ARH says, “inflation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements that have taken effect since the last contract, and other external factors have caused ARH’s health insurance costs to increase.”

A federal mediator has been involved with negotiations and is urging both sides to reach an agreement prior to the existing contract’s expiration set for April 30. If an agreement is not reached by the deadline ARH has notified SUN/NNU of its intention to fulfil their latest offer upon the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement.

Kelsey Gerhardt may be reached at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.