Hundreds of hospital workers are on strike across eastern Kentucky this morning.
The united steelworkers . . which make up sixty percent of Appalachian Regional Hospital workers . . failed to reach an agreement with ARH . . and have been on the picket line since midnight Saturday.
Union members say health, disability, and pension benefits were not acceptable . . especially for new hires.
One man says he was one of two hospital workers arrested last night . . as they were trying to keep replacement workers from coming into the Harlan ARH.
"I told them I was aware they had a job to do just like we had a job to do," says John Taylor, a union member that was arrested. "The troopers were very professional."
Other union members bailed Taylor out of jail.
United steelworkers in Harlan say they met with county officials at 9 this morning to ask them for help in keeping replacement workers from outside the county from coming into the Harlan ARH.
This is a statement from ARH about continuing negotiations.
April 2, 2007 –The leadership of Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) and the United Steel Workers met on Sunday, April 1, 2007 to discuss possibilities that could lead to reaching a new contract. As a result of this meeting, both parties have agreed to return to the table on Wednesday, April 4, 2007 to resume negotiations.
Sunday morning at 12:01 a.m., ARH employees represented by the United Steel Workers went on strike at all of Appalachian Regional Healthcare’s nine hospital locations in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia.
“ARH is hopeful that a resolution can be reached to resolve the issues and to end the strike,” ARH President and CEO Jerry W. Haynes said.
“Making patient care and safety our top priority, ARH has implemented our contingency plan and is operating all of its facilities. ARH wants to assure our communities that residents will continue to receive quality patient care,” ARH spokeswoman Candace S. Elkins said. “We are committed to our mission and to advancing the medical services in the region.”
We'll have have the latest details on the strike tonight on Mountain News at Six.