Healthcare Workers, South Boston Community Health Center Agree to Faster Path to $15 Wage

August 19, 2016

Boston, MA (August 11, 2016) – Healthcare workers at South Boston Community Health Center reached an agreement with health center leaders to accelerate the timeline for workers to earn a living wage.

Health center leaders and healthcare workers from 1199SEIU previously agreed to a two-year contract in 2014, but announced a contract extension that ensures a faster path to a $15 starting wage, bringing many employees up to $14.50 as of June 1, 2016 and finalizing an increase to $15 in 2017. Workers voted overwhelmingly to ratify the new contract on July 28.

“The new contract is an important victory for the dedicated healthcare workers at South Boston Community Health Center who deliver quality care to some of our most vulnerable residents,” said Tyrék D. Lee, Sr., Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. “Because of low wages, these workers are often faced with difficult decisions like choosing between paying rent and buying food for their families. Now, they have secured a faster path to a living wage that allows them to better provide for their families while continuing to provide great patient care.”

The contract will be extended to September 30, 2018, and any employee currently making less than $15 will see their wages increased to a $15 living wage by November 2017.

• Over 35 health center workers who earn less than $14.50 an hour prior will have their wages increased to $14.50, retroactive to June 1, 2016. Some of those workers close to the agreed change will receive more based on 10 or more years of service at the Center. The following year, those under $15 will go to $15.
• Other health center employees unaffected by the previous change will receive a 4% wage increase over the two-year contract.

“With the rising costs of living here in Boston, the new contract is critical to securing wages that allow healthcare workers like me to take care of our everyday expenses,” said Anestine Bentick, who has worked for 14 years as a Lead Medical Assistant at South Boston Community Health Center. “South Boston Community Health Center is an integral part of the community and provides great care to many of our city’s low-income residents. These expedited wage increases will ensure that caregivers like us can feel secure too.”

“South Boston Community Health Center is very pleased to be able to support and help our employees through this agreement,” said William J. Halpin, Jr., Chief Executive Officer at South Boston Community Health Center.

The agreement is among a series of successes for 1199SEIU, who over the past year have secured pathways to $15 an hour for healthcare workers at Boston Medical Center, Tufts Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess-Plymouth, and for the state’s 35,000 Personal Care Attendants.