Union Members With Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center Holding Strike Empowerment Vote – Workers Will Gather for a Vigil as Difficult Talks Continue

While serving on the frontlines of the COVID19 pandemic, workers are standing together for a fair contract agreement at Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center.

For Immediate Release: Monday, June 29th, 2020.
Press Contact: Joyce Gibson, jgibson@seiu1199.org, (877) 419-7348.

Prestonsburg, Kentucky – Union workers with SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH at Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center continue to stand together for a fair contract. Today, workers are voting on whether to empower the bargaining committee that is negotiating on behalf of the membership to issue a strike notice, if necessary. The vote is taking place at the hospital at intervals throughout the day until 7:30pm tonight on Monday, June 29th.

Last week, workers with the hospital applauded a settlement regarding a dispute concerning Medicaid reimbursement rates. As reported, the settlement will provide $383M to rural hospitals across Kentucky. Specifically, Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center is expected to receive $5,028,667 (read press release here). From details that are available, checks could be issued to hospitals as soon as this week.

“As a worker who has been with Highlands ARH for over 20 years, I appreciate what this settlement means for our hospital in Prestonsburg and rural hospitals across Kentucky,” said Krinda Bailey, an emergency room worker and union member leader. “I urge hospital executives with ARH to invest this settlement in the workers at Highlands ARH who do everything they can on behalf of the people of our region.”

“From what has been reported, the total funding for five hospitals in the ARH system that will receive settlement funding is over $16M,” said Joyce Gibson, Regional Director with SEIU District 1199 in Kentucky. “This is a difficult time for so many people and these funds can be used to protect workers with Highlands ARH. These dedicated workers face new risks in their workplace but they have not wavered in their commitment to provide the very best possible healthcare services,” Gibson concluded.

In addition to the strike authorization vote being held by workers with the hospital today, a candlelight vigil is scheduled for tomorrow evening on Tuesday, June 30th at the front lawn of the hospital at 7:30pm. At the vigil, members will gather to express hope that a fair agreement can be reached with management.

SEIU District 1199 represents over 250 workers with Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center and has represented members at the hospital since the 1980’s. 

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