Nurses at Cabell Huntington Hospital Vote Overwhelmingly to Ratify Union Contract Amid COVID19 Pandemic

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Nurses and Union leaders say that in addition to now having a voice on the job and the ability to speak out about quality care, organizing a Union allowed the nurses to negotiate improved insurance coverage and wages, which will strengthen staff retention and benefit nearly 1,000 workers and their families.

For Immediate Release: January 15, 2021
Press Contact: Joyce Gibson, jgibson@seiu1199.org, 304-654-0824

HUNTINGTON, West Virginia – Nurses and nurse practitioners with Cabell Huntington Hospital have overwhelmingly approved a three-year contract agreement with hospital executives. In the largest victory since West Virginia became a “right-to-work” state, the nurses voted to form a Union in November 2019.

Pam Waugh, a medical surgical RN said, “I have been a nurse for 29 years and a union contract gives my family security and peace of mind. I now have job security and do not have to worry my benefits will be taken away.”

With nearly 1,000 nurses and nurse practitioners represented in the bargaining unit and to ensure COVID-19 protocols, the workers voted in significant numbers in a two-day contract vote held at the Double Tree Hotel in Huntington, West Virginia. The vote started on Thursday, January 14th and concluded in the late evening on Friday, January 15th

“Nurses with Cabell Huntington Hospital stood united at the bargaining table and they were diligent in negotiating the details of this agreement,” said Joyce Gibson, Secretary-Treasurer with SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH. “Locally, these nurses are not just health care workers but family members, friends, and neighbors. That’s why this agreement is meaningful not just for these nurses but for the entire area,” said Gibson. “The new agreement ensures that these vital nurses will have job security and a voice for the patients they serve and it will strengthen quality care, in addition to wages and benefits,” concluded Gibson.

For over 40 years, registered nurses have worked side-by-side with SEIU members in every area of Cabell Huntington Hospital. Now, with a new contract agreement for nearly 1,000 registered nurses, the workers will have a stronger voice together.

Holly Bragg, an operating room nurse said: “In these uncertain times, with a national nursing shortage, we no longer have to worry about losing exceptional nurses who care for those in our community due to corporate restructuring and greed. Our nurses will now be able to take care of themselves so that they will be able to take care of others. We made history at Cabell Huntington Hospital and paved the way for nurses across the nation to stand up so that they may no longer be cast into the shadows, work dangerously short-staffed, and stripped of workplace benefits. We thank you, our community, for your support during our endeavors over the past year and look forward to providing you with excellent health care.”

SEIU District 1199 has represented workers with Cabell Huntington Hospital for over 40 years. In the largest victory since West Virginia became a “right-to-work” state, nurses at Cabell Huntington Hospital joined SEIU District 1199 in November 2019. Technical workers with Cabell Huntington Hospital joined SEIU District 1199 in February 2020.

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