I have been for the most part quiet about this strike, but now it is time for this to end. Growing up in Harlan County and the ritual of the annual viewing of Harlan County USA taught that me a strike is serious business. I believe that ARH has the money and resolve to starve out the striking nurses. Case in point; ARH enacted the replacement worker provision and some 150 replacement workers will now have a chance to be permanent employees.
No matter how you slice it an onion is an onion and ARH is on records saying "ARH negotiators have downplayed the back-to-work provisions, saying that a majority of striking workers would get their jobs back immediately if the walkout ends soon." The same old strike breaking company man mentality is alive an well.
Governor Elect Steve Beshear (D) has offered his opinion and it seems labor is willing to get their people back to work, but the smug ARH will likely be the thorn in the ass on this one.
Nurses working for Appalachian Regional Healthcare in Kentucky and West Virginia walked out Oct. 1. The nurses overwhelming rejected a contract offer on Tuesday. Chief union negotiator Pat Tanner said the company's offer was "not enough."
Under Beshear and Manchin's proposal, the nurses would return to work for 90 days while both sides negotiate. The nurses would work under the terms of the old contract during the negotiating period. The governors also want to limit the number of negotiators to five people per side.
"I'm very concerned about the impact this impasse may have on the health care of our people in eastern Kentucky," Beshear said. "It is time for both sides in this dispute to come together for the good of the patients they serve."
Chief union negotiator Pat Tanner says local union presidents unanimously voted to accept the proposal.
ARH spokeswoman Candace Elkins says hospital leaders would be willing to meet with the governors and union leaders. She wouldn't comment specifically on the proposal.