HUNTINGTON, WV – Technical and service workers who have been working bravely throughout the COVID19 crisis at Cabell Huntington Hospital, are requesting consideration and dialogue with hospital executives. Though nurses and some other direct care workers at the hospital have received additional compensation, technical workers, such as respiratory therapists and laboratory technicians, have not received hazard pay. Additionally, service workers, such as housekeeping and dietary workers with the hospital have also not received any additional compensation.
“These workers are asking for hospital executives to consider the difficult and hazardous working conditions of the pandemic,” said Joyce Gibson, Secretary-Treasurer with SEIU District 1199. “Technical workers, such as respiratory therapists and laboratory technicians, they are critical to the regional response to this crisis and as frontline workers, there have been significant challenges,” said Gibson. “Additionally, service workers, such as housekeeping and dietary workers, they have been coping with the stresses and dangers of the pandemic, along with members of their families who have been at greater risk,” Gibson continued.
Though nurses and some direct care professionals have received extra compensation for their work, technical and service workers at the hospital have not received hazard pay. Meanwhile, workers say that hospital executives have hired traveling workers to fill some positions on a temporary basis that cost significantly more than the hospital’s dedicated staff.
In addition to the question of hazard pay, technical workers with Cabell Huntington Hospital also say that despite their good faith efforts, they have not made needed progress while bargaining with the hospital. The workers will next meet with hospital executives in January.
“The workers with Cabell Huntington Hospital have been giving the response effort everything they have and they deserve to have their voices heard,” continued Gibson. “We can’t underscore enough both the bravery of these workers and how steadfast they have been in responding to the pandemic on behalf of the people of Huntington. These workers have a Union, which means to have a voice and they will continue to stand together,” Gibson concluded.
SEIU District 1199 has represented workers with Cabell Huntington Hospital for over 40 years. In the largest victory since West Virginia became a “right-to-work” state, nurses at Cabell Huntington Hospital joined SEIU District 1199 in November 2019. Technical workers with Cabell Huntington Hospital joined SEIU District 1199 in February 2020.