The union representing health care workers at Caritas Christi Health Care says it doesn't expect cuts in jobs, wages or benefits if state regulators approve a private equity firm's plan to buy the state's second-largest hospital group.
Members of 1199 SEIU will spend the next few days digging into the details of Cerberus Capital Management's proposal to acquire Caritas for $830 million. But union spokesman Jeff Hall says an initial review suggests the deal would be positive for Caritas employees and could even create new jobs.
"Caritas management and the acquiring company have been very clear that there are no plans for layoffs or reductions," Hall said, "and it's clear that there's a commitment that the current wages and benefits provided by the 1199 SEIU contract are going to remain in full effect moving forward."
Employees at the four hospitals where Caritas workers are members of 1199 SEIU — St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Brighton, Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton and Norwood Hospital — recently signed a four-year contract that went into effect Jan. 1, according to Hall.
The Caritas hospital group also includes St. Anne's Hospital in Fall River and Holy Family Hospital in Methuen.
The state's highest court still has to approve the deal, which would transform Caritas into a for-profit network. The state attorney general's office and state Department of Public Health will also be involved in reviewing the acquisition plan.
As part of the deal, which is intended to get the Caritas network on stable financial footing, Cerberus has said it will keep the system's 12,000 employees. It has also pledged not to sell the hospitals or take them public for at least three years.
Under the agreement, Cerberus would immediately help Caritas pay off debts and finance renovation projects.
This program aired on March 25, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.