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Health Care Workers Call on ARH Board Members to Meet, Develop Real Strategy to Deal With Hospitals' Bottom Line
Date:2/13/2009

Union Members Say Patient Care at Risk With Threats of Closures, Layoffs

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Feb. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Leaders from three major unions representing more than 3,000 health care workers at nine Appalachian Regional Health Care (ARH) facilities in eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia today called on the ARH board of directors to meet with them to discuss recent cost-cutting proposals that will adversely impact patient care.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080131/DC12982LOGO)

In a letter to members of the ARH board, representatives of the United Steelworkers (USW), Southern United Nurses (SUN) and the West Virginia Nurses Association (WVNA) urged board members to work with ARH workers to develop strategies to secure the long-term financial viability of ARH, if that is at risk.

Recently, ARH management has sought to improve the hospital's bottom line by insisting that its union workers, who all have contracts set to expire in 2010 and who all endured bitter strikes against ARH in 2007, open their contracts and agree to bargaining concessions on issues related to employee benefits and patient care.

"As nurses, we are committed to providing the best care possible to the patients in our communities," said WVNA E & GW Chair Rue Hairston, RN. "That is why we work through our union to advocate so strongly for our patients, and why we will work with ARH management to make sure these hospitals are there for our patients. But ARH's demands of unilateral concessions by the union do nothing to accomplish those goals."

On Jan. 9, ARH management invited the three unions to a special meeting to discuss ARH's economic situation. As a not-for-profit health care facility, ARH shared with the unions the stress placed on it by the lack of adequate M
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SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
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