Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:38PM - 341 Views

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Rachel Daldwin

Staff Writer

SOUTH WILLIAMSON, Ky. — Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) employees represented by the United Steelworkers (USW) voted Friday to ratify a new three-year collective bargaining agreement.

ARH System Director of Employee and Labor Relations Julius Pearson said employees ratified the agreement, which was tentatively agreed upon by ARH and the USW on Tuesday, March 26, after the parties worked diligently for several weeks to reach a negotiated agreement.

Approximately 2,200 employees are represented under the contract and work in a variety of areas and occupations at ARH, including clerical, housekeeping, maintenance, dietary, licensed practical nurses, certified nurse aids, and some technical employees. The collective bargaining agreement becomes effective Monday, April 1, 2013 and will conclude on March 31, 2016.

“We are extremely pleased that our employees represented by the USW have ratified this collective bargaining agreement, and we thank the USW negotiating team for the time and energy they invested in reaching this

agreement,” Pearson said.

“It was our goal to present a contract offering fair and competitive wages and benefits that will continue to make our ARH employees some of the best compensated workers in our region, while also keeping ARH viable and sustainable in a time of uncertainty in the current healthcare environment and the overall economy.”

Tim Hatfield, the CCEO of the Williamson Appalachian Healthcare facility shared the following comment with the Daily News.

“We are extremely happy to have a contract in place that resulted in compromise from both sides of the table. Our organization is very rich in tradition and union history. Our employees are our most valuable asset at Williamson ARH. A positive vote on this contract allows for us to continue meeting the needs of the Tug Valley region in an effective and efficient manner. This contract extension will also allow for us to continue growing and meeting our communities’ needs and expectations daily.”

“The Williamson ARH location has seen a lot of growth over the past several years. We are excited about seeing more new services and physicians added to our location over the next several years. Our newest service line will be Bariatric Surgery that will start up in the mid April. Dr. Rondon, who is fellowship trained in the Bariatric field will be leading the charge with this new service line.”

ARH is a not-for-profit health system serving 350,000 residents across Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia. Operating 10 hospitals, multi-specialty physician practices, home health agencies, Home-Care stores and retail pharmacies, ARH is the largest provider of care and single largest employer in southeastern Kentucky and the third largest private employer in southern West Virginia. The ARH system employs nearly 5,000 people and has a network of more than 600 active and courtesy medical staff members representing various specialties. Firmly committed to its mission of improving the health and promoting the well-being of all people in Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia, in the past 12 months alone, ARH provided nearly $138 million in uncompensated care for the uninsured and underinsured.

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