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Hopkins Caregivers Reach Tentative Agreement On Wage Hike

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Union workers at Johns Hopkins Hospital celebrate a victory Tuesday. After months of negotiations, the hospital reached a new contract with its labor union.

Rick Ritter has the details on the deal.

The new deal includes raises as high as 38% for some workers. It’s a deal many are calling a game changer, one that sets the tone for the entire city.

More pay and higher wages. For workers like Michelle Horton, their message is simple.

“Everybody deserves to be able to provide for their family,” said Michelle Horton.

Horton’s raising three children and says what Johns Hopkins pays her makes it hard to get by.

“Not being able to send my daughter on a field trip because that’s the same week that I have to buy groceries,” Horton said.

It’s a back and forth battle since March that’s included strikes and rallies appears to be over. Early Tuesday morning, Johns Hopkins reached a tentative agreement with the labor union that represents 2,000 of its workers.

“We were able to do what the hospital’s attorneys told us we couldn’t do,” said Carrietta Hiers, a union representative.

Here’s a breakdown of the tentative four and a half year contract. The deal establishes an immediate $15 an hour minimum wage for workers with 20 years of experience. Workers with 15 years of experience get the same by 2017.

“I feel like we accomplished what we set out to accomplish,” said Horton said.

The union is labeling the deal a gamechanger, one that sets a higher standard for workers across the entire city.

“They’re going to say, `Well, if Hopkins is going to pay $12.50 an hour, we’ve got to at least meet their mark,” Hiers said.

Hopkins released a brief statement that said, “We are glad we have arrived at a resolution that works for all parties and look forward to continuing our focus on providing world-class patient care.”

Hopkins workers will hold a contract ratification vote on Thursday and Friday.

Governor O’Malley issued a statement saying the agreement is good for all Marylanders. It was O’Malley who got involved a few weeks ago, asking both parties to take a one-week cooling off period before launching another strike.

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