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UMWA stands in 100 percent support of striking nurses at ARH

October 10, 2007

United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

“The strike by nurses at the Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) hospitals in Kentucky and West Virginia is a clear signal to hospital management that these health care professionals are willing to stand up for better patient care for the communities they serve. I want to make it clear that the UMWA stands in 100 percent support of their fight, and we will do anything we can to help them win.  

“Many of their patients are UMWA members and their families who have relied on the care they get from those hospitals for decades. We want to be sure that they are getting the best care possible, and it’s clear to us that the best way to do that is for the hospitals to stop forcing these dedicated professionals to work mandatory overtime and instead hire more staff.

“The ARH hospitals are known as the ‘miners’ hospitals’ for a reason–our union founded them to provide care for miners and the people from the coalfields who were being overlooked by the health care system decades ago. It’s outrageous to see that, once again, the people who are supposed to be served by these hospitals are threatened with a lower standard of care because of hospital management’s worship of the bottom line.

“I am especially offended to hear about management’s use of replacement nurses–let’s call them what they are: scabs–and hired security guards at these hospitals. Many of these facilities still bear witness to their UMWA origins with photos of John L. Lewis and other UMWA members on their walls. It is outrageous to John L.’s memory for scabs and hired security guards to be paraded in front of his image.

“ARH needs to remember its roots, and come to an agreement with its nurses that recognizes them for the dedicated health care professionals they are and at the same time allows for even better quality of care for our members, their families and their neighbors. The UMWA stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our sisters and brothers from United American Nurses who are on strike at ARH.”

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