ARH Employees Represented by USW Approve Three-Year Labor Contract Agreement
Employees represented by the United Steelworkers (USW) union at nine Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) locations throughout eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia voted Wednesday to ratify a new three-year collective bargaining agreement.
ARH System Director of Employee and Labor Relations Christopher Johnson said employees ratified the agreement, which was tentatively agreed upon by ARH and the USW on Thursday, March 24, after the parties worked diligently for several weeks to reach a negotiated agreement.
The contract covers approximately 2,200 employees represented by the USW at ARH locations in Harlan, Hazard, McDowell, Middlesboro, Morgan County, Tug Valley, and Whitesburg in Kentucky and Beckley and Summers County in West Virginia. These employees work in a variety of areas and occupations, including clerical, housekeeping, maintenance, dietary, licensed practical nurses, certified nurse aids, and some technical employees.
The collective bargaining agreement becomes effective April 1, 2016 and will run through March 31, 2019.
“We are extremely pleased that our employees represented by the USW have ratified this collective bargaining agreement,” Johnson said. “It was our goal to present a contract offering fair, competitive and sustainable wages and benefits that will continue to make our ARH employees some of the best compensated workers in our region, while also keeping ARH viable and sustainable in a time of uncertainty in the current healthcare environment and the overall economy. We feel this is a very good agreement that is evenly balanced for both the employees represented by the USW and for ARH.”
Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) system is a not-for-profit health system operating 11 hospitals, multi-specialty physician practices, home health agencies, home medical equipment stores and retail pharmacies in Kentucky and West Virginia. ARH employs around 5,000 people with an annual payroll and benefits of $297 million generated into our local economies. ARH also has a network of more than 600 active and courtesy medical staff members. ARH is the largest provider of care and single largest employer in southeastern Kentucky and the third largest private employer in southern West Virginia, and is consistently recognized for its medical excellence.