West Virginia Hospital strike continues, benefits cut from union members

West Virginia Headlines
Countdown To Christmas
December 25 2021 12:00 am

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – The workers’ strike at Cabell-Huntington Hospital continues and on Wednesday they received some tough news.

This strike is now in its second week and now the stakes just got even higher. Union officials say all service and maintenance workers in the union have had their healthcare benefits cut off by the Cabell-Huntington Hospital administration.

“We put our lives into this hospital, for this to happen it just so disheartening,” said Shawnda Garrett, an Operating Room Sterile Technician at the hospital.

Union officials say the move went into effect last Thursday, but some members didn’t know it until one member’s prescriptions were rejected due to lack of insurance coverage.

“We haven’t asked for anything except what we deserve. Our benefits, our healthcare is so important. My husband is ill here, this is my husband and he’s ill and he has to take a lot of medicines. And we need our healthcare,” added Garrett.

Those who have been at the hospital for decades say this move not only affects them but their families.

Garrett explains, “There’s single mothers and single fathers and they got children. And this healthcare is so important, and I worked here all these years, and I just can’t believe that somebody would try to take that from us.”

When we asked the hospital to confirm the healthcare cuts, they sent us a statement saying:

We’re disappointed the SEIU District 1199 leadership did not inform its members of the consequences of participating in a strike before holding a vote to authorize the strike and requiring members to participate in one. Union leadership was well aware that a strike would result in the cessation of pay and benefits. Any employee who wishes to return to work will have all benefits restored, including healthcare insurance.

Kathy Cosco
Director of Strategic Marketing, Mountain Health Network

Union members were not able to confirm when the next round of negotiations will take place with the hospital.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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