Tobey Hospital Employees Picket For Fair Wages
Dozens of Tobey Hospital workers picketed outside the Wareham hospital Friday afternoon to demand fair wages from parent company Southcoast Health.
The service, clerical, and technical workers are part of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and say management plans to freeze salaries and cut benefits.
Jerry Fishbein, vice president of 1199's SEIU local division, says since employees at St. Luke's Hospital and Charlton Memorial Hospital aren't unionized, all eyes are on Tobey.
"We have talked regularly and are increasing our talks with workers in other facilities. everybody's watching what's going on here/ they understand that we get to raise our voices here and they don't have that opportunity."
The union says 40 percent of its members at Tobey earn less than $15 an hour.
"[Southcoast Health] offers a competitive wage and comprehensive benefits program, plus superior working conditions. We respect a labor union’s right to informational picketing, as long as our patients, guests and employees’ access to care and to our hospital is not adversely impacted. However, we continue to maintain our belief that labor negotiations are most productive for patients and staff when done in good faith at the bargaining table," Southcoast Health spokesman Peter Cohenno said in a written statement.
Contract talks will resume Monday.