Cabell Huntington Hospital Nurses Vote Yes in Strike Empowerment Vote

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Nurses with Cabell Huntington Hospital held a strike empowerment vote that concluded tonight at 9PM. The nurses voted overwhelmingly to authorize the bargaining committee to issue a 10-day strike notice, if needed. The nurses are calling on hospital executives to negotiate a fair and equitable contract in good faith.

Staff Contact: Joyce Gibson at (304) 654-0824
For Immediate Release: Saturday, October 31st

HUNTINGTON, WEST VIRGINIA – Nurses with Cabell Huntington Hospital have  overwhelmingly voting to empower their bargaining committee to issue a 10-day strike notice, if needed. The nurses have been voting over the last two days at the Double Tree Hotel in Huntington after negotiating with hospital executives over the last nine months for a contract that protects quality care and restores health care benefits.

“As nurses with Cabell Huntington Hospital, we have again spoken resoundingly and this vote shows that hospital executives must resolve issues around staffing and benefits,” said Erin Johnson, a labor and delivery nurse. “As nurses with Cabell Huntington Hospital we are working every day in this pandemic to provide the best possible health care services on behalf of the region. However, cuts in employee benefits have been damaging not only for the 1,000 nurses in the bargaining unit and our families but also for workforce retention at the hospital,” Erin Johnson concluded.

Negotiations with Cabell Huntington Hospital executives will continue this week on Monday, November 2nd. Nurses with the hospital say that staffing at the hospital must improve to protect quality care and that changes in the workplace and benefits have been driving quality nurses away from the 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 the pandemic.

“Safe staffing saves lives,” said Joyce Gibson, Secretary-Treasurer with SEIU District 1199. “These are frontline heroes who are working to provide the best care possible every day in this pandemic,” continued Gibson. “These healthcare workers deserve to have affordable health care restored and be able to provide for their families and their future. They have taken a vote to empower their bargaining committee to send a 10-day strike notice, if needed. This is a vote by the nurses to demand that hospital executives hear their voices on staffing ratios and affordable healthcare benefits,” 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.

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