MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - The union representing nearly 870 workers at West Virginia University Hospitals says it's going back to the bargaining table with high hopes and low expectations.
Union business manager Sherri Dezzutti said the two sides began another round of talks Monday morning.
On Friday, more than 500 members of AFL-CIO Local 814 voted to reject what WVU Hospitals said was its last, best offer. Only 20 workers supported the deal.
The majority gave negotiators the go-ahead to issue a 10-day strike notice if needed.
WVU Hospitals President Bruce McClymonds has said that plans are in place to protect patient care if the dispute goes that far.
The current contract expires Dec. 31.
The rejected offer would have raised workers' pay but also increased health insurance premiums.
"All of management's proposals are based on projected costs, not factual costs," Dezzutti said in an e-mail.
During the 2006 contract negotiations, management overprojected its 2008 health care costs by more than $2 million, she said.
"Our members saw none of the savings," she said.
WVUH includes Ruby Memorial Hospital, the Jon Michael Moore Trauma Center, WVU Children's Hospital, Chestnut Ridge Center and the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center.