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News ::
MetroWest workers reach agreement that will significantly raise pay (english)
20 Mar 2003
Ratification vote set for Wednesday, March 26
March 19, 2003

Framingham – One week after a spirited picket line and an outpouring of community support, employees at MetroWest Medical Center have won a tentative agreement that creates a new wage scale, clearly defining future pay raises for employees.

“This contract will give us two raises a year, and many members will get upgrades and equity adjustments,” said Josephine O’Keefe, a certified sterilization tech who has worked at the hospital for fourteen years. “With the wage scale, the steps will get us better pay sooner. Finally, we’ll be rewarded for our length of service as well as our skills.”

Earning ‘living wages’ was a major objective for union members. Before this contract, more than 55 percent of the membership made less than $9.00 per hour. The three-year agreement guarantees everyone a minimum three percent annual increase with an additional 15-cent raise each year of the contract.

Because of the new wage scale, pay will actually increase an average of 5.5 percent in the first year and 5 percent in both the second and third years of the contract. With ratification, only 20 percent of the employees will be under $9.00 per hour. About 100 employees are covered by the new agreement.

For many years employees have sought to get management to provide expanded training opportunities through a program sponsored by a joint labor-management agreement that is tailored to the needs of hospital workers. The new agreement establishes that the non-profit Workers Education Program (WEP) will provide English as a second language, computer skills, medical technology and high school equivalency GED training for employees.

None of the current dietary workforce will be forced to take a twelve-hour shift. For those that choose it, new protections are in place to guarantee appropriate meal and rest breaks.

New contract language will ensure that promotions result in better pay and that no worker’s pay will be cut if a demotion is necessary.

SEIU Local 285 is a statewide union of health care and public service employees with more than 12,000 members. The union represents workers at more than 50 hospitals, health clinics, and nursing homes in Massachusetts.
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