Staffers at the Hadassah Medical Organization’s Ein Kerem campus in Jerusalem were overjoyed on Wednesday to learn that the hospital has agreed to pay their wages in full and to postpone impending layoffs.
After nearly two weeks of striking, employees celebrated after hearing that a deal had been reached between the Histadrut labor federation and Hadassah Director-General Avigdor Kaplan. The deal guarantees that Hadassah will pay in full all hospital staff with monthly salaries of 15,000 shekels ($4,270) or less, and delay a slew of layoffs, despite the ongoing budgetary crisis at the medical center.
Emotions ran high as employee committee chairman Amnon Baruchian and Jerusalem district Histadrut chairman Dani Bonpil announced the deal to employees in the hospital cafeteria. Guy Rahamim, a 37-year-old father of two who has worked at Hadassah for 17 years, said that while he was elated at the outcome of the struggle, he was also exhausted.
“I’m celebrating. I’m the happiest guy in the world, but I’m also very tired,” he told Israel Hayom. “There’s nobody happier than me. I feel a great weight off my shoulders. I was on the list of layoffs and I didn’t have anything to lose. It was a just cause. We fulfilled our goal and I’m overjoyed that we succeeded without boiling over to violence. Hadassah is my first home, and I just hope it won’t be mixed up in the future.”
Yoav Ben-Hamo, 50, who has been an orderly at Hadassah for 27 years and was also on the list to be laid off, said, “My heart is lighter. I feel much better. There are going to be layoffs, and we still have a long road ahead of us, but if there are going to be layoffs at least they’ll guarantee us the conditions we deserve.”
“This is a huge victory on behalf of the workers committee,” he said. “We fought a hard battle and I hope that from now on everything will happen under agreement, and they’ll consider each individual by merit. Most important, the administration should listen to us and understand us. This is a very joyous day.”