Averting Strike, Over 1,000 Union Workers at Bridgewell Win Improved Working Conditions

Tentative agreement reached under increasing pressure on the agency to avoid upcoming strike

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LYNN — The over 1,000 members of SEIU Local 509 at Bridgewell proudly reached a major settlement Tuesday with Bridgewell management, after a lengthy negotiating session spurred by an upcoming strike and overseen by a federal mediator. Today’s tentative agreement, subject to a ratification vote by union members at the agency, is a significant step toward addressing low wages and staff turnover at Bridgewell. The settlement, reached just days before a planned strike on August 20th, will improve wages and working conditions for over 1,000 workers who directly care for individuals with disabilities up and down the North Shore.

The three- year tentative agreement for Bridgewell workers  will result in a minimum of a 9% wage increase over the three-year contract, along with a decrease in health insurance costs, increase in time off benefits, and protection for immigrant workers.

“Caring, assisting, and advocating for those that cannot do it themselves isn’t easy work,” said Tania Louis, a Bridgewell human service worker and union leader. “I’m relieved that Bridgewell will respect my work and my colleagues by approving a better contract. Our fight continues, but today was a great day for me and all of my fellow human service workers at Bridgewell.”  

“I have been at Bridgewell for 7 years and I am proud of what I do,” said Ademola Odubiyi, a union leader and human service worker at Bridgewell.“Today we got a better contract which means we can proudly continue our work caring for others.”

Workers had provided management with the legally required 10-day strike notice on August 4th, while continuing to try to bargain in good faith with management in the days leading up to the strike. Today’s settlement comes after significant grassroots organizing and mobilization by human service workers at Bridgewell, who work in numerous group homes and day habilitation programs in the North Shore and Merrimack Valley.

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