Union leaders say offer from hospital to go up for vote soon
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Cabell Huntington Hospital has made an offer in an attempt to end a strike that first began Nov. 3 as members of the service workers union walked off the job.
SEIU confirms the offer was made by the hospital on Tuesday.
SEIU maintains that the strike is still ongoing.
A hospital spokesperson released the following statement Tuesday night:
“Following today’s negotiations with SEIU District 1199, we are pleased that the union will be presenting the Hospital’s offer to its members for a vote tomorrow. We are hopeful that our employees will ratify the contract and we look forward to them returning to work.”
Union leaders say they are, “waiting on clarifying answers from the hospital on the offer and it will likely go to a vote tomorrow (Wednesday) night.”
Cabell Huntington Hospital said for many years it has covered health care premiums at 100%. It’s now asking union members to contribute, on average, less than 5% of their families’ total health care costs. The hospital says the premiums are affordable and that workers are paid at the top of their market.
Service Employees International Union District #1199 disagrees. It contends the hospital is attempting to take away 10% of wages and accuses it of committing unfair labor practices.
Last week, the two sides argued over a temporary restraining order in Cabell County Circuit Court. The order pertains to conduct of picketers. The union says it agrees with the majority of the court’s terms, but takes issue with attempts to control aspects of the picketers’ speech and movement.
The judge scheduled a full evidentiary hearing on the restraining order for Dec. 10. In the meantime, he urged both sides to try and reach a compromise on the terms of a permanent order.
Union leaders say members will have an opportunity to vote during three time slots on Wednesday. At each vote, there will be a 30-minute meeting during which union members will be presented with the details of the last and best final offer from the hospital.
If no compromise is reached, and they need additional time in December, the judge will schedule another hearing for January.
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