Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

August 29, 2012

Officials confirm union talks underway at BRMC

BLUEFIELD — Officials with Bluefield Regional Medical Center confirmed Tuesday that union talks are underway at the hospital.

According to a statement released by hospital, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is conducting secret ballot elections for certain classifications of employees at Bluefield Regional Medical Center this week.

BRMC spokesperson Rebekah Ritter said the decision to unionize would be up to hospital employees.

“The hospital is fortunate to have a skilled, dedicated workforce,” Ritter said. “We value our employees and the high-quality care they provide for our patients. We respect their right and ability to choose for themselves whether or not they wish to be represented by unions.”

BRMC laid off 22 non-clinical employees in February 2012 of the hospital’s then more than 600 employees. Another 12 non-clinical employees before that in September 2011. Another 20 positions were eliminated from the hospital in January 2011, which was approximately 2 percent of the hospital’s 874-person staff at that time. Hospital officials said the January 2011 layoffs were made after a “thorough analysis of (the hospital’s) staffing needs.

In September 2010, Bluefield Regional Medical Center was sold by the Bluefield Municipal Building Commission for $5 million to Community Health Systems, Inc. based in Franklin, Tenn. The hospital was officially handed over to the company on Jan. 1, 2011.

— Contact Kate Coil at

kcoil@bdtonline.com�

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