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Striking ARH Nurses Bring Issues To West Virginia Lawmakers

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Clad in red and white and chanting the
word "union," a group of striking nurses vowed Monday to remain
off the job until they get a contract with Appalachian Regional
Healthcare that meets their terms.

About 75 nurses gathered on the steps of the Capitol to vent
their displeasure with ARH, one of the region's largest health care
providers and the owner of seven hospitals in Kentucky and two West
Virginia. About 630 nurses in both states walked off the job last
week following the expiration of their contract.

"We can last just as long as they can," said Nancy Newsome, a
nurse at ARH's Beckley hospital. "We're going to hold together."

Since the strike began on Oct. 1, ARH has brought in replacement
workers.

In the days before the strike, ARH issued its "final offer" to
the nurses, which included an initial 2 percent pay raise and
flexible schedules, allowing nurses to work 10- and 12-hour shifts.

Pamela Lilly, a nurse at the Beckley hospital, said the offer
was a way to break the union. The nurses, she said, rejected it out
of concern that it wouldn't allow them to spend enough time with
patients.


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