HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The union representing 800 workers at Cabell Huntington Hospital said Monday it would go on strike Nov. 15 unless a new contract is worked out.

SEIU District 1199 issued a strike notice after its members overwhelmingly rejected the hospital’s latest offer in a vote that took place Saturday. The main disagreement appears to be over health care coverage for active workers and retirees. The proposal also included no pay raises according to the union.

SEIU District 1199 Deputy Director Joyce Gibson said the hospital’s contract proposal was “unbelievable.”

“Considering the amount of money that they’ve made,” Gibson told MetroNews. “We’re just literally in shock that they would even have these cuts and concessions on the table being as profitable as they are right now.”

The union claims Cabell Huntington had a $33 million profit last year. Gibson said they agreed to concessions in the 2010 contract because the hospital was struggling but not anymore.

“We believe wholeheartedly that part of that (profit) should be shared with the workers who provide that direct care,” Gibson said.

Cabell Huntington Hospital spokesman Charles Shumaker issued a statement Monday evening:

“We recognize that our employees are our most valuable resource and we are proud to offer a complete range of benefits at a time when many in our industry must reduce benefits for staff. In fact, total compensation (the combination of salaries and benefits) provided to all current and future staff will continue to remain higher than those at all other healthcare providers in West Virginia. The few benefit changes necessary would only apply to future, not current, employees and will enable us to prepare for the upcoming costs associated with the Affordable Care Act. We must plan for the future now so we can continue to provide the high-quality health care services our community expects and deserves.”

Shumaker said the hospital will return to the bargaining table next week with optimism that a fair agreement can be reached.

Gibson said the union is also ready to negotiate but also ready to strike if it has to.

“No one wants to strike in this situation. However, they are willing to do it to make the hospital understand that there is no way that they can afford these health insurance concessions and feed their families and be able to continue to provide for their own,” Gibson said.

The union represents LPNs, lab, service and maintenance workers. The hospital said it has a plan in place if a strike would occur.

 

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Comments

  • Cabell Huntington worker

    I am not a union member but when our CEO made nearly 1 million dollars last year, has his home paid for
    by the hospital & 2 brand new vehicles every year provided & paid for by the hospital something must give. All of the administrators make 3 to 4
    times the salary of the workers who are the ones providing direct patient care. When the hospital does well they get rewarded but we aren't getting anything in return. It's selfishness and bad business. If the union doesn't strike with these crazy proposals given to them the hospital will just take more away in 2016. Now it's only affecting new hires but in 3 years it could
    affect present employees. It's not right to give years of dedicated service to an organization & then get nothing upon retirement. Think long & hard about this seiu members. It's not always about making more money, think about the bigger picture.

  • wvtd

    seiu/acorn you helped put obama in office now eat your obamacake.

  • Joe

    Does that Barbra Streisand have anything to do with this strike?!

  • JNT

    Disgusting! Unions have NO business in the healthcare industry!

  • JasonWVU

    Stand your ground!! Big business is what is ruining this country with the overpaid CEOs and having to have record profits. Its time the unions start making a statement again.

  • DWL

    O-care! Looking out for their kind. Free stuff for lazy a$$ purple shirt loons! Once they walk - FIRE every last one of them.

  • jdietz

    The SEIU was a rabid supporter of Obama and his healthcare program so let the union members subscribe to ObamaCare

  • Low Rider

    Join the party SEIU. Every union is battling over health care. I have a great idea...the SEIU was a major supporter of Obama. Just scrap your employer provided health care and join the health care exchange that your president and congressman (Rahall) implemented!