Amicable agreement reached between SEIU and ARH regarding wages/benefits battle

PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (MTN) — An agreeable contract has been reached between union members of SEIU District 1199 and officials from Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center.

On June 30, 2020, hospital workers and community members gathered for a peaceful rally on the front lawn of the Highlands ARH Medical Center in Prestonsburg, Kentucky to express hope that a fair wages agreement can be reached with hospital executives and management.

The rally transpired due to a recent settlement regarding miscalculated Medicaid reimbursement rates as Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center was expected to receive $5,028,667 (read press release here). Workers protested in hopes of better pay and benefits as they have been on the frontlines since the COVID-19 pandemic first began back in March.

According to Executive Board Member of SEIU 1199 and Highlands ARH employee Jason Caldwell, on July 3, an amicable agreement was reached by both union members and Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center.

The terms of this new contract will secure general wage increases all three years of the contract. Also, longevity wage increases are included. Longevity gives employees an incentive to stay long term by earning more with increased years of services. Benefits were secured with this contract as well as a cap on any increases that may occur throughout the duration of the contract. Caldwell says this is important to help employees be able to afford benefits and keep a good standard of living.

“Overall, we feel this was a good contract and look forward to working with ARH in the future to build a good working relationship and provide good patient care to the community,” states Caldwell.