The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

May 2, 2014

Beckley ARH CEO ‘pleased’ nurses strike averted

Tentative agreement reached late Wednesday night

BECKLEY — Just hours before Beckley Appalachian Regional Healthcare registered nurses were set to go on a 24-hour strike, a tentative agreement was reached Wednesday night with the Southern United Nurses/National Nurses United union.

Community CEO at Beckley ARH Rocco Massey said Thursday he was “extremely pleased” to see a tentative agreement reached.

“We feel that this is in everyone’s best interest and are looking forward to our nurses ratifying the contract next week,” Massey said.

Last week, the National Nurses United union announced that Beckley ARH and ARH in Hazard, Ky., would host a one-day strike May 1 to protest hospital demands that included what nurses viewed as unsafe workloads, the extension of a wage freeze that began in 2011, cuts in health coverage and other reductions in RN standards.

The union said an ARH mandate that most RNs be available to work additional 12-hour shifts during the work week on top of already scheduled work assignments was one of the key issues.

The strike was scheduled from 7 a.m. May 1 to 7 a.m. May 2, but late Wednesday, ARH and the union reached an agreement after hours of negotiations.

Details of the agreement are being kept confidential until the 734 ARH registered nurses, represented by the SUN/NNU and covered under the contract, have the opportunity to vote on the new contract later this week.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com

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