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Hospital contracts.

Hospital contracts

A 3-month strike against hospitals in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia ended when members of the United Steelworkers union approved a 3-year contract with the Appalachian Regional Hospitals, operator of the nine institutions (employees remained on strike at another institution in Man, WV). Two of the hospitals settled in mid-June, and the others settled at the end of the month, breaking the tradition of negotiating master contracts covering all 10 hospitals.

Wage terms were the same at all locations: an increase of 3.9 percent or an average of 28 cents an hour in the first year, 3.7 percent or 26 cents in the second year, and 3.5 percent or 25 cents in the final year.

There were no changes in benefits, but there were numerous changes in job bumping, seniority, and absenteeism provisions. According to an official of the hospital agency, some of the 1,850 licensed practical nurses and clerical, technical, and service employees might not be recalled because the hospitals operated efficiently during the stoppage and some patients had been lost to competing hospitals.

In Philadelphia, 5,000 workers engaged in sit-down strikes lasting about 4 hours before settling with eight hospitals and several clinics. The nurses, aides, orderlies, and other employees won wage increases of 5 percent in the first year, 4 percent in the second year, and 3 percent in the final year. Prior to the settlement, pay reportedly averaged $8.50 an hour.

Benefit changes negotiated by the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees include a reduction in the surcharge the hospitals had been applying to employees' medical bills in order to cut a fund surplus; a 12.2-percent (of payroll) employer payment to the fund (formerly 12 percent), subject to a further increase in the third year if required to maintain current benefit levels; adoption of a program to contain cost increases for medical care; and adoption of a preferred provider organization among the hospitals guaranteeing that workers will be treated without cost in the hospital where they are employed.

The union said that hospitals also generally agreed to a number of "social' demands, such as giving 6 months' notice of cuts or elimination of service; formation of joint committees to find alternative uses for underutilized beds; giving union and community leaders a voice in adding or terminating hospital services; prohibiting volunteers from performing duties of employees in the bargaining unit; and establishing committees to control the use of part-time employees.
COPYRIGHT 1986 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:collective labor agreements
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Sep 1, 1986
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