More than 800 Workers at Caritas St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center Make History with Vote to join 1199SEIU
“We are overjoyed and thrilled. People were crying with joy in the halls last night,” said St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center Patient Care Assistant Sonia Marshall, “We believe in the mission of St. Elizabeth’s, and we’re excited about working together to make our hospital the best that it can be for our patients and also for hospital workers and our families. We look forward to the day when all of our sisters and brothers across Boston are able to have free and fair union elections.”
Over the past 35 years, workers have attempted to form a union at St. Elizabeth’s at least three different times. Under new leadership, Caritas Christi Health Care reached an historic accord in January 2009 with 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the Area Trades Council, which established a free and fair union election code of conduct. Under the accord, workers would be free to make their own decisions on whether to join together as a union under fair secret ballot voting conditions. Caritas Christi and the members of 1199SEIU – including workers at Caritas Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton, who had previously organized with 1199SEIU – along with the Area Trades Council, have pledged to work together on efforts around employee training and education, as well as employee and patient satisfaction, to usher in the next level of health care quality.
Organizing efforts are ongoing at hospitals throughout Massachusetts. Area hospital CEOs have been asked to allow workers to vote under free and fair conditions. Workers at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center have pledged to help health care workers organize at other hospitals, including other Caritas facilities, where union election campaigns are expected to launch in the near future.