UE Local 170 state hospital members are stepping up the fight for better wages and working conditions at the state's hospitals and nursing homes, staging informational picketing outside of William R. Sharpe, Jr. Hospital in Weston and Jackie Withrow Hospital in Beckley over the past two months.


State hospital members and supporters picket
at William R. Sharpe, Jr. Hospital in Weston


 

UE Local 170 members picket at Sharpe Hospital in Weston, WVNearly 100 UE Local 170 members and supporters picketed outside of William R. Sharpe, Jr. Hospital in Weston on Monday, September 29 to bring public attention to ongoing problems at the hospital and at the other facilities operated by the West Virginia Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities (BHHF), a bureau of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR). This was the second informational picketing at the facility this year.

UE members had set up a base camp at the bottom of the hill that leads up to the hospital earlier in the day. UE members and supporters picketed at shift change with hospital employees picketing before and after their work shifts. Local politicians and candidates joined the union members on the picket line, voicing strong support for the hospital employees.

The UE members' informational picketing received media coverage throughout central and northern West Virginia. You can find news coverage on the UE Local 170 Facebook page.

Shortly after the informational picketing, BHHF announced its proposal to address staffing problems at the state's two psychiatric hospitals - William R. Sharpe, Jr. Hospital and Mildred-Mitchell Bateman Hospital in Huntington - which will raise the wages of direct care staff significantly at those two facilities. While UE Local 170 welcomes BHHF's proposal, UE Local 170 is still calling for better wages and working conditions for all BHHF's employees at all of its facilities.

 

State hospital members and supporters picket
at Jackie Withrow Hospital in Beckley


 

UE Local 170 members conduct an informational picket at Jackie Withrow Hospital in Beckley, WVUE Local 170 members and supporters picketed outside Jackie Withrow Hospital in Beckley on Monday, October 13 during shift change to bring public attention to the low wages and poor working conditions at the state-run nursing facility, which is also operated by the Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities (BHHF).

The nursing facility employees were joined on the picket line by UE members from the Division of Highways (DOH) and DHHR. Passersby honked their horns in a show of support. The informational picketing received media coverage throughout southern West Virginia.

Like all of the facilities operated by BHHF, Jackie Withrow Hospital has been plagued for years by understaffing because of high employee turnover and unfilled vacancies due to low wages, mandatory overtime, and poor working conditions.

UE Local 170 is calling on BHHF to improve the wages of all BHHF employees at all of its facilities; fill all unfilled vacancies; end mandatory overtime; stop using temporary and contract employees; and respect the employees' right to collectively bargain.

You can find news coverage on the UE Local 170 Facebook page.