Union, Holy Family Hospitals Reach Three-Year Agreement

Holy Family at Merrimack Valley Hospital, Haverhill.

Union healthcare workers at Holy Family Hospital, Haverhill and Methuen, are among about 5,000 Steward Health Care System employees at eight hospital campuses receiving a new three-year collective bargaining agreement.

The new labor contract, between 1199Service Employees International Union (SEIU) United Healthcare Workers East and Steward, “includes wage increases, preserves free college tuition and affordable insurance for thousands of health care workers,” according to a joint statement Tuesday. The contract also “includes pathways to $15 minimum wage for workers at multiple hospitals and continues partnership on efforts to secure and protect community hospital funding.” The new pact, which becomes effective Nov. 1, and runs through Oct. 31, 2019, includes a 5.5 percent total “across the board” wage increase over three years. The agreement covers “a wide range of healthcare jobs including a variety of service, clerical and technical positions.”

“Quality care is directly linked to quality jobs, and this contract raises standards for healthcare workers across the Steward system,” said 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East Executive Vice President Tyrék D. Lee. “It ensures these dedicated caregivers will continue to have a strong voice at their workplaces and access to the training and education opportunities they need to provide the quality care their patients deserve.”

Workers at both of Steward’s Boston hospitals plus three others will receive a $15 minimum wage by the end of the second year of the contract, a statement reads.

In addition to “the standing joint labor-management committees through which Steward and 1199SEIU work” to improve care and jobs within the hospitals, the contract establishes a compensation workgroup that will include representatives from the union membership and hospital administration.

“This contract builds upon the shared work that Steward and 1199SEIU members have done not only to continue strengthening the level of patient care at our hospitals – but also to provide valuable education opportunities and good jobs for the entire health care team,” said Steward Hospital Services Group Executive Vice President John Polanowicz. “It is a reflection of Steward’s commitment to the communities we serve.”

Union members “voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new labor agreement with the largest operator of community hospitals in Massachusetts,” the statement added. “1199SEIU is the largest and fastest-growing union of healthcare workers in Massachusetts. Steward Health Care is the fifth largest employer in Massachusetts.”