Not all ARH strikers back on the job
by LUCINDA CORNETT
Many ARH employees spent most of the month of April on the picket line. The United Steel Workers failed to come to a contract agreement with ARH before the previous contract ended and union members walked out of the ARH facilities in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia.
Before the end of April, however, USW and ARH came to an agreement, union workers approved the new contract, and the picket lines cleared. Now two weeks later, some of those workers have not gone back to work yet.
Union workers picketed their employer in a call to protect their benefits, wages and health insurance. Now with a new contract is ratified, some of former strikers have not gotten a chance to start work under the contract they fought for. Instead, they’ve received lay-off notices from ARH.
During the USW strike, some ARH facilities were forced to close, including a pharmacy in Ary. And ARH officials say they lost patients in the process. “Prior to the strike, ARH facilities were seeing increases in patient volumes and as a result of the strike, we have seen temporary setbacks in some areas,” said ARH Spokesperson Candice Elkins.
That decreased patient volume, is why ARH says they’ve had to layoff some of their employees. However, ARH says the layoffs are temporary but didn’t note how temporary they may be.
ARH says they are working closely with USW to call recall employees in accordance with the needs of their facilities.
Elkins stated that as patients realize the strike is over and return to ARH for medical care, they would be able to bring more workers back to the job. The lay-offs, ARH said, are not indefinite.
“We are assessing our patient volumes and workforce needs every day at each of our hospitals and will call people back to work as soon as we possibly can and in full accordance with the agreement with the United Steelworkers,” Elkins said.
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