Harper Mills union employees hold vigil to voice concerns about contract negotiations

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Members with Service Employees International Union 1199 at the Harper Mills long-term care facility gathered on Thursday, November 19, 2020 for a vigil. They are concerned about contract negotiations.

Harper Mills is owned by Stonerise Healthcare. Administrative Organizer with SEIU, Zac Gibbs, said Stonerise is looking to erode the bargaining unit and stop matching their 401K. 

“Working in these hazardous conditions, the company is proposed to stop matching their 401K. A lot of the senior members that’s been around look forward to that match because obviously retirement is closer to home for them,” Gibbs said.

Stonerise Healthcare released a statement to 59News, which can be found below.

“We have always believed that to best serve our patients, we must first serve our team members, and we know our caregivers are committed to service through their commitment to and love of their patients. We’re proud to have continually increased starting wages for all our team members. All full-time employees receive a competitive benefits package and advancement opportunities. In April, we increased all employee wages by $1.00 per hour to recognize their efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Just recently in September, we increased the starting base pay rates for all jobs covered under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and we adjusted the pay for any team members who previously had been below the new applicable starting rates.

“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we did not think it was fair to our Beckley team members to have to wait until November, when the union contract came up for negotiations, to benefit from the increases we voluntarily made to wages company-wide, so we made them early for those team members.

“Instead of accepting our good intentions, the union has objected to our making these early
increases. Our bargaining team will continue to meet and bargain in good faith with the union for
additional wage increases, and I can assure you we are not taking away our 401k match from the team members.”

Statement from Denise Worley,
CEO/administrator of Stonerise Beckley, recently renamed from Harper Mills:

Gibbs said both parties are expected to sit down on Nov. 24, 2020.

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