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Technical bargaining employees at Cabell Huntington Hospital have approved their first contract agreement with hospital executives, SEIU District 1199 announced.

HUNTINGTON — Technical bargaining employees at Cabell Huntington Hospital have approved their first contract agreement with hospital executives, union officials announced Tuesday.

“For decades, technical and professional workers have worked alongside members with SEIU District 1199 at Cabell Huntington Hospital. With this new contract agreement, technical and professional workers, nurses, service workers, and maintenance staff, will have a stronger voice together,” said Joyce Gibson, secretary-treasurer of SEIU District 1199. “These workers, including respiratory therapists and others, have bravely served the public throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This contract agreement will make a difference in the provision of quality care and staff retention. The new agreement also makes substantial improvements in wages and benefits.”

The vote to ratify a three-year contract took place Monday evening. The bargaining unit includes approximately 150 employees and is comprised of several groups of technicians, including respiratory therapists, MRI and CT techs, medical laboratory techs and radiation therapists, union officials said.

“With the ratification of this contract agreement, we have a greater voice in the area of patient care,” said Courtney Merritt, a CAT scan tech at Cabell Huntington Hospital. “The contract includes guaranteed wage increases and improved benefits. This agreement benefits technical and professional workers at the hospital, in addition to our families.”

Technical employees voted to form a union with SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH in February last year.

“We are pleased that we were able to complete this agreement which is consistent with what we agree to with the RN bargaining unit on benefits and represents what we wanted to achieve at CHH over a year ago, but was delayed due to the negotiating process,” said Mike Mullins, president and CEO of Cabell Huntington Hospital and president and CEO of Mountain Health Network. “We are particularly pleased that there was agreement and indications of continued support for the concept of employee participation in paying health insurance premiums, which has been implemented for most hospital employees. The steps we took to implement employee participation in the payment of health insurance premiums prior to the union organizing campaign have now become nearly universal. There seems to be a consensus that the hospital needed to make this change in order to stay aligned with the industry so that we could continue to serve the community going forward.

“We are grateful for the efforts that each negotiating team brought to the discussions, and in the end it is gratifying that what we offered was accepted.”

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD or email him at fpace@hdmediallc.com.

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