"They've got the support of all their brothers and sisters across the state," said Bill Londrigan, president of the AFL-CIO.
Londrigan said the stop is part of a statewide tour to help rally support for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Beshear.
When asked about Gov. Ernie Fletcher's recent criticism of Daniel Mongiardo, Beshear's running mate, for not crossing the nurses picket line, Londrigan said, "Gov. Fletcher has absolutely no moral authority to stand on when it comes to workers' rights and workers' issues. He has shown himself to be the most anti-labor governor in the history of this commonwealth."
Recently, Fletcher had said the reason he criticized Mongiardo was because he was more concerned about the patients in the hospitals first.
"It is so ironic that he would bring that up, because the very reason these nurses are out here is because of those patients," Londrigan said. "They have been worked to death and forced into a position where they cannot provide the care that they so want to provide to all the people that come into those hospitals."
Londrigan made it very clear that he was here to fully support the nurses. He pointed out that the Appalachian Regional Healthcare system was put together by the United Mine Workers Association and John L. Lewis to serve the people of the communities and make sure they have health care.
"These people are this community," Londrigan said. "What I feel sorry for is the patients that have to go to these hospitals now and get substandard care and treatment by scabs from another state.
"Not only are the (striking) nurses very gentle and caring, they're also very strong, and they're very determined. That's what's going to make the difference here. You couldn't ask for better people to have in this community and to work with."
The main reasons the nurses are on the picket lines include wanting a better patient-to-nurse ratio, successorship and seniority rights.
According to several nurses, ideally, the ratio would be one nurse to two patients in the intensive care unit and one nurse to about four patients on the floor.
"We're putting our jobs on the line for our patients," said Crystal Eldridge, an ICU nurse on the picket line.
The nurses said they were thankful for everyone who brought food and water out to the picket line.
According to Mark Bell, ARH's director of marketing and business development, 19 permanent replacement workers had been brought in under the terms of the most recent contract proposed to the union.