Video & Text by Pete Mazzaccaro

Unionized Chestnut Hill Hospital employees rallied at the hospital Wednesday afternoon to draw attention to what they said is a need to increase wages for service workers who have been negotiating a contract with management for 8 months.

The rally was organized by the workers’ union, The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and drew more than 100 people who chanted, beat drums and marched from the hospital to the Chestnut Hill Newsstand at Evergreen Avenue.

Hospital nurses assistant Shelly Ellison told the Local that chief among the workers’ concerns was that low wages for workers at the hospital made it less competitive than other hospitals in the region.

“I’ve worked here for 17 years and seen a lot of people come and go,” she said. “We’d like to see the hospital show more concern for patient care and for our workers. We want this to be the best hospital.”

Lab worker Vanessa Scott, also a 17-year employee of the hospital echoed the same in a speech to the gathered demonstrators.

“Chestnut Hill Hospital needs to be a place where you can build a career,” she said. “Where you can have a future. That’s why we’re here — to make this place a place where we want to work.”

In a statement, Chestnut Hill Hospital said it was committed to working with the union to resolve the differences.

“Chestnut Hill Hospital is committed to good faith bargaining with the Service Employees International Union toward an agreement for our service and maintenance employees,” the statement read. “We believe the bargaining table is the appropriate forum for negotiations and sincerely hope a mutually acceptable agreement can be reached.”