By Charlie Forbes

CBS Detroit – Henry Ford Health System unveiled plans Friday to increase compensation for its lowest-paid workers to $15 per hour. The increase will go in effect on Sunday, October 11, and will affect more than 3,000 frontline team members making under $15 per hour.

President and CEO, Wright Lassiter III said in a statement, “As a healthcare organization deeply rooted in our communities for more than a century, we know our mission to improve people’s lives extends beyond what we have historically defined as ‘healthcare and healing,’”. He added, “We have a critical role to play in removing barriers to opportunity and achieving equity for all – and our team members are a crucial part of the communities we all serve.”

According to Lassiter, finances directly attributes to one’s health, “There is a strong association between financial health and security and overall health, a reality that has been driven home over the last eight months for our team members who are on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19,” he said.

The $15 per hour increase will affect employees in more than 100 positions that are also eligible for benefits, providing a living wage for those individuals who represent nurse assistants, food services assistants, health screeners, clinic representatives, and others.

The cost to Henry Ford for this wage increase is $6 million annually. Nina Ramsey, Henry Ford’s SVP and Chief Human Resources Officer said, “We are humbled by the passion and dedication of our 33,000 team members who work tirelessly every day in our local communities,”. Adding, “This wage increase for so many of our frontline essential workers is really the beginning of our journey to provide a differentiated experience for all of our team members – rooted in our mission and core values.”

The wage increase was planned earlier, but with COVID-19 they had to delay those plans. Healthcare providers across the state saw millions of dollars lost when COVID-19 regulations prevented them from doing non-emergency and elective surgeries. Which many had to furlough or lay off employees to stay afloat according to the Detroit Free Press.

Henry Ford has received $350 million from the federal government from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This helped to displace the $500 million in losses they encountered so far according to Lassiter. With an exception of 159, all of their furloughed staff are back to work.

Lassiter told the Free Press that even though they are a little behind in their financial forecasts, they hope to finish the year out with a positive bottom line.

There are still some student, intern, and temporary positions who will not see the $15 per hour increase.


© 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Information from Henry Ford health system and the Detroit Free Press contributed to this report.

Charlie Forbes

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