ACMH workers ask board for fair pact
By Brigid Beatty
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
EAST FRANKLIN — A group of workers from four clinics run by ACMH Hospital turned up at the hospital's annual board of directors meeting on Tuesday to make an appeal for what they called a fair contract.
At issue is a proposed increase in health care costs for 26 union employees working as licensed practical nurses, medical assistants and receptionists at the area clinics. Those unionized clinics in the ACMH system are the primary care centers in Rural Valley, Elderton, Leechburg and South Bethlehem.
Early in the meeting, Pat Burns, the chief financial officer of ACMH Hospital used a powerpoint presentation to illustrate the hospital's expenditures and revenues from 2011 to 2012. Total expenses for the fiscal year 2012 totaled around $89.6 million, said Burns. A pie chart showed salaries and fringe benefits taking up 59 percent of the pie, totaling about $53 million. According to Burns, ACMH made a little over $5.2 million.
“The hospital did have a positive year last year,” he said.
When the meeting opened for public comment, Cathy Cousins, unit chair and recording secretary for United Steelworkers addressed the board on behalf of the 25 other workers. Cousins noted that she is a medical assistant in the Leechburg facility.
She asked the board to support the union workers plea for a fair negotiation.
“It's been over six years since we have had a raise,” said Cousins, adding that any increase in health care costs would be financially crippling for many employees and their families.
“I don't know how the hospital expects us to pay these outrageous costs in health care,” she said. “We're not asking for the whole pie, we're asking for a piece of it.”
Chase McClister, board chairman, thanked Cousins and the group of workers for coming to voice their concerns and added that the board was not able, at that time, to make a comment.
Cousins acknowledged the board's position saying she had not expected a response.
“We're asking for the hospital to bargain in good faith, that's all we're asking,” she said. “The price of everything is going up. How are we expected to keep up with inflation?”
After the meeting adjourned, Cousins said the current health insurance costs are affordable.
However, the health care increase, proposed in early January, will cost some employees (paying family rates) as much as $400 or $500 per paycheck, she said.
“Some people only bring home $1,400 a month,” said Cousins.
Bonnie Caler, unit secretary for USW local 158, is a receptionist at the Leechburg facility where Cousins works.
“We care about where we work,” said Caler.
“That's why we're still there. We don't want to leave these wonderful patients or our coworkers.”
Unfortunately, said Cousins, if the issue isn't resolved she won't be left with much of an option.
“If they do implement this (health insurance hike) I will have to look for another job,” she said.
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kittanning vigil planned for mother in fatal collision
- County board seeks members
- Ford City’s A Mano features cuisine ‘by hand’
- District weighs AP test charges
- West Kittanning holds line on taxes
- $2,000 gifts benefit homeless vets in Armstrong County
- Christmas for Kids receives $1K donation
- Rayburn animal shelter in desperate need of new wheels