HUNTINGTON — Union workers in the service and maintenance units at Cabell Huntington Hospital voted Wednesday to send a 10-day strike notice to the hospital’s management.
Amy Hazelett, an organizer with Service Employees International Union District 1199, the union representing the workers, would not release vote totals, but said, “It did pass overwhelmingly.” More than 1,000 workers cast a ballot.
The vote took place throughout the day at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel on 3rd Avenue in downtown Huntington.
Union officials said in a statement prior to the vote that the strike notice warns the hospital that union workers will strike when the current contract ends Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, if it passed. The National Labor Relations Act requires labor organizations to give health care institutions at least 10 days’ notice prior to engaging in a strike.
Union officials said in the statement that “workers are fighting for quality care, safe staffing, wages that allow them to provide for their families and health insurance coverage.”
“Management came to the table with major concessions, despite a new $51 million office complex and steady revenue and income margins since the acquisition of St. Mary’s (Medial Center) in 2019,” the statement said. “This meeting comes after months of negotiations with the executives at CHH, who have repeatedly made it clear that they value profits over workers and patients. This conflict comes after decades of successful contract negotiations with previous hospital administrations, but clearly these executives have decided that they will be prioritizing profits over care and dignity.”
Cabell Huntington Hospital is one of the largest employers in Huntington.
“The current contract between Cabell Huntington Hospital and the SEIU Service Employees Bargaining Unit expires after November 2. In the meantime, the hospital is committed to continuing good faith negotiations in order to reach a fair and equitable agreement,” Molly Frick, director of Human Resources at Cabell Huntington Hospital, said in an email.