By Rachel Dove
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Appalachian Regional Healthcare and the Southern United Nurses/National Nurses United union reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement late Wednesday for the health system’s registered nurses, ending the threat of a one-day strike Thursday at the Beckley ARH Hospital and Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center locations.
The tentative agreement was reached after hours of negotiations between ARH and the SUN/NNU, and a federal mediator who had urged both sides to reach an agreement prior to the expiration of the current contract at midnight, April 30. After reaching the agreement, the SUN/NNU formally rescinded its plan for the 24-hour strike Thursday.
Details of the agreement will be 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. Should this strike have taken place and a contract agreement had not been reached, it would have affected approximately 45 registered nurses at the South Williamson ARH facility, which serves the Tug Valley area.
“This tentative agreement was reached after ARH and the SUN/NNU sat down with the federal mediator Wednesday afternoon to work through issues and was made with the best interest of ARH, its registered nurses, and the communities we serve in mind,” said Julius Pearson, ARH system director of employee and labor relations.