UPDATE: ARH And USW Reach Tentative Contract

By: Nick Bona
By: Nick Bona

Hazard, Ky (WVLT) -- Appalachia Regional Healthcare and the United Steelworkers reached a tentative three-year contract agreement last night after a three week strike

Union leaders say the deal doesn't include everything they wanted, but it preserves pensions, pays health insurance costs and improves workers wages.

"There are things in the contract that are positive for the employees and I'm sure positive for the employer as well," said Dwayne Herald from the United Steel Workers.

"We feel it's a balanced contract and we are very hopeful that employees who represent the USW will ratify this contract," said Candace Elkins from ARH.

ARH workers struck at mid-night on April 2nd, 10 days after putting out a strike notice and hours after contract negotiations with the hospital management company broke down.

In total, about 60 percent of the 4,600 nurses, aides, housekeepers, custodians and clerks at nine hospitals stretching from Middlesboro, Kentucky to Beckley, West Virginia walked out.

A vote on the new contract is set for Wednesday.

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