Whittier Workers Officially Reinstated, Set to Vote in Union Election

June 19, 2018

by Katie Johnston | Boston Globe

The 20 workers who were suddenly laid off from Whittier Street Health Center last week, then reinstated on Sunday, only to be kicked off the property when they showed up on Monday, have been officially rehired — just in time to vote Wednesday on whether to unionize.

The terminated workers, many of whom supported the effort to join 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, said the firings were an attempt to derail the union effort. Management at the Roxbury center has been conducting an aggressive antiunion campaign, employees said, requiring them to attend mandatory meetings led by outside consultants laying out a case against unionization.

Chief executive Frederica Williams said that the job cuts were due to a loss of expected grant funding and were unrelated to the union effort, though it was unclear why a loss of grants would prompt an immediate layoff of 20 workers. Williams, who made more than $461,000 in total compensation in fiscal year 2016, said she was taking a 25 percent pay cut for the remainder of the year to help make up the shortfall.