Strong New Contract at Greater Baltimore Medical CenterMay 12, 2021
In February 1199ers at Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) ratified a contract with historic gains that included significant wage increases, improved base rates and shift differentials, a $400 COVID-19 bonus, and preservation of the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Fund. Workers also placed introducing an official Juneteenth holiday on the docket for the next contract.
The institution employs some 450 1199SEIU members in housekeeping, materials management, sterile supply, clerical and technical positions. In an unusual move, bargaining was held in person at held at 1199SEIU’s Baltimore headquarters because a union conference room was large enough to accommodate both sides and maintain proper social distancing protocols.
Bargaining committee member Sheila Saunders, a GBMC unit clerk, said the in-person dynamic helped the process. “We got this done quickly and with cooperation,” she says. “We have a really great committee. We work together very well, and when we have a goal we want to accomplish, we work together very well to achieve it. The committee knows that it’s not just about us, but about every 1199 member at the hospital.”
“They really can adjust to every angle,” says MD/DC area organizer Maurice Brown, praising the committee’s adaptability. “And we wanted to let the boss know that this committee was speaking for the whole shop, not just the committee. And they definitely accomplished that.”
Though bargaining during COVID-19 was a challenge, says Saunders, workers should not let the pandemic stop them from standing up for what they want.
“We kept telling management that our jobs are as important as any other one in the hospital,” says Saunders. “And we were ready to do what we did to make them understand and get what we wanted.”