Tag Archives: wages

Union Negotiates Raises for Hospital Workers

Members of the health care workers union have successfully negotiated a labor contract with Massachusetts Steward Health Care that will raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2019 and guarantee workers access to affordable health insurance.

The agreement with Steward Health Care, the fifth largest employer in Massachusetts, is the latest victory in SEIU1199’s efforts to increase wages for members. Approximately 5,000 workers at hospitals that include Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Good Samaritan in Brockton, Norwood Hospital, and St. Elizabeth’s in Brighton. Recently, Boston Medical Center and South Boston Community Health Center have also secured agreements.

In Massachusetts, health care represents the largest sector of employment. Tyrék D. Lee, executive vice president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East says, “This will have a major effect in the workers’ ability to provide for their families.”  

Starbucks, JPMorgan Vow to Raise Wages

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced in a memo to all 157,000 employees in company-operated stores will receive a wage hike as of October 3. The pay Starbucks pay hike came as the company is under fire from employees unhappy that Starbucks has cut their hours. An online petition posted on coworker.org in June claims that cutbacks in hours and staffing at stores is killing employee morale and hurting customer service. It’s so far garnered 12,800 signatures. The news of the pay raise also came one day before Starbucks price hikes, raising its prices by up to 30 cents.

The political pressure to raise pay for low-level workers is beginning to have an effect on other corporate giants as well. On July 12, JPMorgan Chase & Co. said it will raise the minimum wage for 18,000 US workers over the next three years.  This increase at the largest bank in the US increase bring wages up from the floor of $10.15 to $12 to $16.50 an hour.

Animation Companies Sued for Wage-Fixing

According to Variety, a federal judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Walt Disney Company, Dreamworks Animation, Sony ImageWorks, and other companies alleging they violated antitrust laws by conspiring to set animation wages through nonpoaching agreements. The suit was filed by three former animation employees at Rhythm & Hues, Walt Disney Feature Animation, and ImageMovers Digital who contend that the antipoaching agreements began in the mid-1980s, when George Lucas and Pixar President Ed Catmull agreed to not raid each other’s employees. Other companies later joined in. Among other things, companies routinely notified each other when making an offer to an employee of another company.