United Steelworkers Vote For New ARH Contract

By: Jon Sonnheim Email
By: Jon Sonnheim Email

It's over! A nearly one month strike by the United Steelworkers union against Appalachian Regional Healthcare ends with a new contract.

Union members voted overwhelmingly to approve the new agreement.

Nearly three and a half weeks after the strike began, Wednesday night brought out a different kind of chant from the union members.

After voting from 6am until 6pm, the more than two thousand union members voted overwhelmingly, 1,576 votes to 496, to accept the contract that officials on both sides agreed upon late Saturday night.

ARH officials preferred not to appear on camera, but say they were pleased the contract was ratified.

Officials say they're looking forward to moving ahead and uniting with the United Steelworkers to regain the confidence and trust of the communities they serve.

So as union members took down their picket signs and lined up to receive gas and food cards from the strike funds the reality of nearly a month without a paycheck is certainly being felt.

Some questions, such as will there be tensions between both sides, or tensions with replacement workers...remains to be seen.

For now both sides just appear, very relieved, and very happy, that union members are going back to work.

Union members say they could be back to work as early as tonight or Thursday or, it could be a week or two.

As they say the ball is essentially in ARH's court right now.

ARH officials say they're formulating a recall plan to get employees back to work as soon as possible and that the number of patients at the hospitals and clinics will help determine that.


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