ARH, union reach contract agreement

Appalachian Regional Healthcare and the United Steelworkers have reached tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement to cover more than 2,300 employees represented by the union.

That's close to half of the 4,700 people employed by ARH, which operates nine hospitals, physician practices and more in Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia.

A vote by the union's members is expected early next week on the proposed contract, said Angela Lang of ARH's marketing group.

Because the agreement is tentative, neither side is disclosing any of the aspects of the new contract, which will replace the one set to expire at the end of this month.

"This tentative agreement reflects compromises by both parties which were made in the long-term best interests of all stakeholders including the communities we serve, and all employees who support the mission and the organization," said Dan Fitzpatrick, ARH executive director of human resources and labor relations, in a statement.

The employees represented by the union work in a variety of occupations, including clerical, housekeeping and maintenance.