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Boston Healthcare Jobs to be Saved

Posted on March 24, 2009

In a time of economic uncertainty, some workers with Boston healthcare jobs have received good news.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center had originally announced its plan to cut 600 jobs, but has now decided to reduce that number to 150 jobs. According to an article by the Boston Globe, the hospital was able to reduce the number of layoffs through wage freezes, salary cuts in high administrative jobs and benefit reductions.

“This is a major victory and will mean a lot to more than 450 families who would otherwise lose their income,” Chief Executive Paul Levy said in the article. “We will do this at the same time we provide earnings protection to our 900 lowest-wage workers.”

The company has to make cuts in order to fill a $20 million revenue shortfall. Proposed steps to save $16 million include suspending the employer match for retirement plans, withholding some raises, rolling back executive increases and eliminating cash payments for surplus earned time.

The company also plans to leave Boston job openings unfilled and require less-busy areas to reduce headcount. The hospital will cut its employee barbecue, which should save $50,000, as well as reimbursement for cellphones to save another $100,000. The hospital also is considering an early retirement option.

The Boston-Cambridge-Quincy area’s education and health services industry employed 477,600 workers during January, according to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is down from 487,200 workers during December 2008, but a 2.4 percent increase from last year.