Hospital Workers Appalled By Elected Officials Selling Out Community Interest In Local Hospitals

Union and Not-Yet-Union Workers say selling out community interest of local hospitals is short-sighted and foolish.

HUNTINGTON, WV – Since Cabell Huntington Hospital converted from a public hospital to a non-profit in 1987, the Huntington City Council and Cabell County Commission have appointed members to the hospital’s board of directors which has given our local community a voice in the affairs of what has been one of our most important community assets.

Now that the Cabell County Commissioners gave up their ability to appoint members to the hospital’s board of directors at the request of Cabell Hospital executives, they are pressuring the Huntington City Council and the local Union labor council to give up their seats as well.

“The public deserves a seat at the table when it comes to our local hospitals,” said Joyce Gibson, Regional Director for SEIU District 1199, the Union that represents the workers at Cabell Huntington Hospital and is currently supporting workers’ efforts to organize at St. Mary’s Medical Center. “Our Huntington City Council should not sell-out our community voice and give wealthy, out-of-touch corporate executives greater power over the future of our community’s health and well-being.”

The 31-year-old agreement with Cabell Huntington Hospital, which now also owns St. Mary’s Medical Center, requires representatives appointed by the Cabell County Commission, Huntington City Council and the local Union labor council to sit on the Board of Directors of Cabell Huntington Hospital. This provision was required for the transfer from a public to private, non-profit community hospital.

“These hospitals are where so many of us have been born, worked, had children, had family fight through ill health,” continued Gibson. “These hospitals belong to the people of Huntington and allowing corporate executives to strong-arm local elected officials into giving up these seats on the hospital’s board means that we will lose our voice to the wealthy and well-connected.”

SEIU District 1199 is currently considering a possible legal challenge against Cabell Huntington Hospital for a variety of violations of labor law and the mistreatment of workers at St. Mary’s Medical Center.

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