National Labor Relations Board To Decide If Strike Is Economic Or Unfair Labor Practices

By: Marie Luby Email
By: Marie Luby Email

Kentucky and West Virginia nurses on strike say the dispute with Appalachian Regional Healthcare is about unfair labor practices, but hospital officials insist it's about money.

We explain the difference between the two and what it means for nursing jobs at ARH hospitals.

The National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, defines an economic strike as one involving issues like wages, hours, and working conditions.

“These are classic economic issues which accompany a strike of this kind,” Rick King said.

An unfair labor practices strike involves a violation of the National Labor Relations Act, such as refusing to bargain in good faith or trying to intimidate union employees.

“It's our contention that the company provoked the strike and that they never intended to reach an agreement. The company is trying to break the union,” Pat Tanner said.

Kentucky and West Virginia Nurses' Associations officials took their claim to the NLRB, which now has the final say on which type it is.

The decision could affect ARH nurses' jobs. If it's economic, ARH has the right to keep its permanent replacements on the payroll. If it's about unfair labor practices, striking nurses have the right to get their old jobs back even if it means letting permanent replacements go.

“I think the thing I've worried about least is whether or not this is an economic strike. There's no question in my mind that it is and if it were to be tested that it would be sustained,” King said.

“We believe it is unfair labor practices that's the cause of the strike, and that is what we are about to prove,” Tanner said.

Union officials say they plan to meet with an NLRB investigator next week to try to prove their claim.

Officials don't know how long the process could take.

We will continue to follow the latest on the strike as the two sides meet again Wednesday in Lexington.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Concerned Nurse Location: Hazard on Nov 14, 2007 at 03:45 PM
    As a nurse that loves her profession, I would like to comment about the Strike at ARH. I am a Christian and had a lot of thoughts about leaving my job to strike the last few days of September. My thoughts were "am I right to stay or am I right to go?" My decision was to go on strike because if I stayed I was saying it was OK to put my patients life in danger when I did not have staff to cover the floor. I truly feel in my heart that I had to make a stand against what I felt was wrong and that meant striking. I still feel that way and still had the desire to make ARH Hospital the best and to offer the best care with adequate staff. I will keep standing on that line and praying that the strike will soon end and MY COMMUNITY HOSPITAL WILL SERVE THE COMMUNITY AS A HOSPITAL FOR THE PEOPLE AND NOT FOR CORPORATE GREED.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 14, 2007 at 02:44 PM
    support rns stop this strike
  • by aggravated patient Location: KY on Nov 14, 2007 at 05:13 AM
    Of, course its about economics. Just take a look in the news paper and see how much RN's out ARH are getting paid. And then you have to wait on them to answer your call light. If your not happy, try walmart:)

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