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News ::
Baptist Hospital Workers Win First Contract
11 Jul 2001
Clinical and facility engineers at New England Baptist Hospital in the Mission Hill section of Boston voted unanimously last night to ratify their first union contract. It is the first union contract at the Baptist Hospital and only the second within the notoriously anti-union CareGroup Healthcare Network, which the Baptist is a member of.
Clinical and facility engineers at New England Baptist Hospital in the Mission Hill section of Boston voted unanimously last night to ratify their first union contract. It is the first union contract at the Baptist Hospital and only the second within the notoriously anti-union CareGroup Healthcare Network, which the Baptist is a member of.

Reaching the agreement took nearly a year and a half of contentious negotiations with management after workers voted for union representation by the Area Trades Council in December of 1999. There were over 50 negotiation sessions held. To win the first contract, Baptist union members looked for support from the labor movement and the community.

Hundreds of union members and community supporters attended rallies, helped distribute leaflets and contacted the hospital and CareGroup voicing their support for the union. Many elected officials also spoke out in support of the union.

Don Cooley, a leader of the union negotiating team said, “By standing up for ourselves and getting support from the community, we had the power to win a first contract that really improves our working conditions and gives us a voice on the job.”

The agreement increases union members’ wages an average of 26 percent over the term of the contract. Health insurance costs are frozen at the current percentage rate and, in addition to staying in the Hospitals retirement program, the Baptist employees will start participating in the union’s pension fund on April, 2002. Employees also won new contract language covering job security, promotions, and a grievance procedure with binding arbitration.

There are currently 18 members of the union at the hospital. The ratification vote was 16 to 0, with 2 members unavailable to vote. The new labor agreement goes into effect immediately and runs until September 30, 2004.

Joe Sousa, a HVAC mechanic and member of the union negotiating team said, “It’s a good first contract. And we got it done because we stuck together.”

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