More Than 1,900 Cape Cod Healthcare Workers To Get Raises As Part of New Contracts

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis.

Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis.

BARNSTABLE – More than 1,900 healthcare workers across the Cape Cod Healthcare system will see higher wages and other increased benefits as part of five new contract agreements.

The contracts cover most workers except doctors and nurses at Cape Cod Hospital, Falmouth Hospital, Cape Cod Healthcare Laboratory Services, which was formerly called C-Lab, and Cape Cod Human Services.

Jerry Fishbein, vice president of the 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, said, “This is a three-year contract covering Cape Cod Healthcare workers in four different facilities. There are multiple contracts. They’ve been negotiating since last fall.”

Healthcare workers voted this month to ratify the agreements, which took effect upon ratification. The nearly 1,900 Cape Cod Healthcare workers include clinical social workers, clinicians, professional and technical employees, clerical employees, service employees and maintenance workers.

The new contracts will provide a minimum of a two percent raise each year of the three-year agreement, for a total of a six percent increase by the end of the contract.

The lowest wage workers in the unions will be earning $15 dollars an hour by the end of the three-year contract.

Fishbein said the new contracts offer benefits for all the employees covered by the contract and many members will receive higher increases than the annual two percent.

“It provides wage growth for all of our members, the protection of some really unique benefits, like a training and upgrading fund, and maintains affordable healthcare for everybody in the bargaining unit,” he said.

Besides maintaining affordable healthcare, some of the union members will receive significant reductions in premiums as well as the maintenance of crucial training and education benefits, according to a prepared release about the contracts, according to a union statement about the contract.

“We’re proud of these new agreements, which reflect the high quality patient care that we as healthcare workers provide every day at our local hospitals and healthcare facilities,” said Deona Brennan, a sonographer at Falmouth Hospital, in a prepared statement. “Under these new agreements, many healthcare workers will now be on a path to a living wage, ensuring that they can focus on providing great care, rather than worrying about how to make ends meet.”

The new contract with Cape Cod Human Services provides earned time off to fee-for-service clinicians, a first-time benefit to clinicians who previously could not accumulate time off.

“Clinicians deserve to be able to take time to away from the job above and beyond the minimum time now guaranteed under the new earned sick time law,” said Jennifer Fay, a licensed mental health counselor at Cape Cod Human Services. “For the first time, this contract will enable those clinicians to take that time without having to worry about losing wages.”

While working through all the contracts took about a year, Fishbein said, the negotiating remained positive.

“I think there was a recognition of a very mature relationship between the union and the employer, Cape Cod Healthcare, an emphasis on putting patients first, and a commitment to working through the difficult issues that we had in front of us,” he said.

The 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers east is the state’s largest healthcare union with 52,000 workers in Massachusetts. It has nearly 400,000 workers across the east coast.

The union gained a significant victory earlier this year in an agreement with Governor Charlie Baker.

In June, Massachusetts Personal Care Attendants and Gov. Baker announced that the state’s caregivers will become the first in the nation to achieve a statewide $15 per hour starting wage, based on an agreement reached between the 35,000 home care workers of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the Baker administration.


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