Nearly 100 UE Local 170 members and supporters participated in informational picketing at William R. Sharpe, Jr. Hospital in Weston on Monday, May 19 to bring attention to the poor working conditions there.
Sharpe employees, who took turns picketing, either before or after their work shifts, were joined by other UE Local 170 members and community supporters. Passersby honked their horns to show their support during the two-hour picketing.
The informational picketing received extensive media coverage in the central and northern parts of the state. You can view WDTV new coverage here.
Despite agreeing to a 2009 court order agreement, which called for improved pay for direct care employees and an end to mandatory overtime and the use of temporary and contract employees at Sharpe and Mildred-Mitchell Bateman Hospital in Huntington, the WV Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities has failed to follow through with the agreement. While the court order agreement only applies to direct care employees at the two psychiatric facilities, UE Local 170 is calling for improved pay and working conditions for all of the non-management employees at all of the Bureau's facilities.

Last month Mountain State Justice, which represents the patients at the two psychiatric facilities under the Hartley et al. WV Supreme Court case, went back to Kanawha County Circuit Court seeking a final resolution to force the Bureau to live up the the 2009 agreement. UE Local 170 Chief Steward Jamie Beaton, a Health Service Assistant at Sharpe Hospital, testified at the hearing. Judge Duke Bloom has ordered the Bureau to develop a plan to fulfill the 2009 agreement by May 30.  A follow up hearing is scheduled for June 11 in Kanawha County Circuit Court.