Last year Local 170 was able, through determined action at the last minute in the middle of a snow storm, to avert the sale of four state-operated nursing homes. We knew then that it would be revived in the 2017 Legislative Session.
What we did not know is that the proposal would come back on steroids.
This year Senate Bill 201 was introduced, calling for consideration of selling off the four nursing homes — Hopemont in Preston County, Withrow in Beckley, Lakin in Mason County and Manchin Clinic in Fairmont. This time around two state hospitals — Sharpe in Weston and Bateman in Huntington — have been added to the legislation.
This is not just about many hundreds of state worker jobs. It’s also about the residents, patients, families and communities that will be deprived of essential services by liquidating theses facilities. If successful, this bill would provide a model to eliminate other essential public services, including highway maintenance and a range of social services.
It is imperative that our members, friends and families contact their state senators and delegates and ask them to oppose SB201 along with any other bills that would dismantle the state of West Virginia.