Fidelity House CRC Workers Poised to Receive Five Percent Raise Over Two Years, Bringing End to Strike

Richard Sweeney, employment specialist; Lorelei Kluever and Mercy Frank, SEIU Local 509 internal organizers; and Danielle Sweeney, skills instructor. (WHAV News photograph.)

Employees from SEIU Local 509 who have reached a settlement with management from the Lawrence-based human services agency Fidelity House CRC to end the five-day strike over wage disparities, WHAV has confirmed.

Union representatives said that under a proposed new contract, workers are poised to receive a five percent cost of living raise over two years. The vote, which followed an eighth bargaining session, takes place in the coming weeks. Striking workers were expected to return back to work Monday.

“Since we formed a union, we’ve shown that every time workers stand together, we win higher wages and better care for the people we serve. We’re glad to end the strike so we can get back to the important work we do each and every day,” the union’s Chief Steward, Francisco Fabian, a 20-year Fidelity House employee, told WHAV in a statement.

As WHAV previously reported, wage disparities became clear following Career Resources Corporation’s merger with Fidelity House last year. Employees of the former CRC group homes received wage increases after the merger, but there were no raises for employees at Haverhill’s Parkridge Road day and employment programs.

About three hundred employees walked off the job last Tuesday, with most picketing at the South Union Street offices in Lawrence. Workers also picketed at the former Ward Hill office of CRC. Across the region, the employees who assist disabled adults received support from local and congressional leaders including Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini, Congresswoman Lori Trahan and Sen. Diana DiZoglio, among others.

Fidelity House CRC President and CEO Brad Howell told WHAV he was pleased the two sides could come to a tentative agreement and bring the striking workers back to serve the community. “I’m happy with the agreement and appreciate the efforts of the two teams at the table,” Howell said.

The previous collective bargaining agreement between Fidelity House CRC and union employees expired on June 30.

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