Staff Contact: Joyce Gibson at (304) 654-0824.
For Immediate Release: Friday, October 30th.
HUNTINGTON, WEST VIRGINIA – Today, on Friday, October 30th and tomorrow on Saturday, October 31st, nurses with Cabell Huntington Hospital are holding a strike empowerment vote at the Double Tree Hotel in Huntington. Nurses with the hospital have been negotiating with hospital executives over the last nine months for a fair and equitable contract that protects quality care.
“Having a Union has allowed us to have a voice for ourselves and our patients in the area of patient care. We have over 1,000 nurses represented within our bargaining unit and nurses with Cabell Huntington Hospital are united for quality care on behalf of the communities we serve,” said Derek Bradley, a critical care nurse in the ICU unit at Cabell Huntington Hospital.
Nurses with Cabell Huntington Hospital have been bravely working on the frontlines of the COVID19 pandemic. In the last year, Cabell Huntington Hospital received over $70M in funding under the CARES Act. St. Mary’s Medical Center, which is a part of the Mountain Health Network, also spent over $10M to acquire the Huntington Internal Medicine Group (HIMG) in the middle of this pandemic.
“Nurses with Cabell Huntington Hospital have always been heroes in our community and they continue to speak out for good jobs and quality care,” said Joyce Gibson, Secretary Treasurer with SEIU District 1199. “These nurses need increased staffing ratios to protect quality care at the hospital, especially for critical patient care units. Since Mountain Health took over, nurses have also been leaving the hospital system due extreme health care cost and concessionary changes in workplace benefits,” continued Gibson.
Nurses at the hospital have been forced to pay dramatic increases in health insurance costs. Additionally, hospital negotiators want the nurses to assume additional costs in the area of short-term disability benefits, and to reduce their sick leave benefits when they need it the most due to being quarantined for COVID19 exposure. Hospital staffing also remains a critical point of contention in negotiations.
“These nurses are taking a vote to empower their negotiating committee to authorize a 10 day strike notice, if needed. They continue to call on hospital leaders to improve staffing ratios and stop the benefit cuts that are our hurting our families,” concluded Gibson.
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.