Union members accept hospital’s offer, effectively ending strike

Union members accept hospital’s offer, effectively ending strike
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 10:46 PM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Union rank and file on Wednesday night voted to accept an offer from Cabell Huntington Hospital, marking an effective end to the nearly month-long strike.

SEIU District 1199 confirmed that members, who had been on strike since Nov. 3, accepted the deal offered by the hospital on Tuesday.

“Our members stood proudly in solidarity on the strike line and beat back concession after concession. These healthcare heroes deserve way more than what this hospital finally offered, but we are celebrating the victories that were won,” said Sherri McKinney, regional director for the union.

Cabell Huntington Hospital released the following statement Wednesday night, saying striking employees could start returning to work as early as Friday:

“We value all of our employees as each plays an important role in delivering reliable, quality care to our patients,” said Tim Martin, Chief Operating Officer for Cabell Huntington Hospital. “We are committed to being the best employer in the region with outstanding wages and benefits and this contract confirms that. We look forward to welcoming back our coworkers and resuming normal operations.”

“I commend the negotiating team in reaching a mutually beneficial contract,” stated Kevin Yingling, MD, Mountain Health Network CEO and President of CHH. “Throughout the negotiation process, I have been truly impressed by the expertise, experience, and guidance of our team. They have bargained earnestly and honestly to achieve a fair and equitable contract. I am deeply grateful for all that they have accomplished and look forward to continuing a shared focus on patients and caring for our community.”

SEIU District 1199 provided the following information about the hospital’s offer:

- “CHH conceded to give everyone an annual 2 percent increase across the board and add another 2 percent onto the wage scale, plus increases in the shift differential.”

- “The hospital also withdrew all of their concessionary proposals including cuts in holiday pay as part of the bargaining process. The only exception to this was on healthcare. The final agreement ratified today gives employees premium free healthcare until January 1, 2023. Employees will then start to pay bi-weekly premiums anywhere from $22 per pay to $176 per pay. However, each employee will be able to get that premium reduced by 20%-55% by going through annual health assessment process and earning between $500 and $1,000 off their premiums. The healthcare plan ratified has reduced deductibles and overall, less prescription cost.”

- “The hospital’s final offer does dramatically reduce benefits for retirees by stealing Cabell Hospital healthcare from those 65 years and older and replacing it with a $250 stipend they can use to purchase a supplemental plan. As part of the bargaining process Tuesday, the hospital agreed to extend the prescription discounts to the retirees to help off-set the cost unpaid by Medicare.”

- “Those qualifying employees who are retired or will retire between the age of 62-65 years old will still be able to keep the Cabell Hospital insurance plan but will have to pay $125 per month starting April 1, 2021.”

Hospital service workers with SEIU District 1199 have been on strike since Nov. 3. Their top concern has been health care costs.

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 had said that premiums are affordable and workers are paid at the top of their market.

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For previous coverage >>> Cabell Huntington Hospital, SEIU to resume negotiations

About 1,000 Cabell Huntington Hospital service workers remain on strike

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