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Sat Jun 16, 2018, 06:27 PM

Sudden Whittier Street Health Center staff cuts raise concerns

Twenty employees at a Roxbury community health center were abruptly laid off Thursday, less than one week before a scheduled vote on unionizing.

Frederica M. Williams, president and CEO of the Whittier Street Health Center, said no patients were turned away due to the layoffs, only nine of which entailed people who would have been in the collective bargaining unit; the others were supervisory, fundraising, public relations and administrative positions, as well as vacancies.

The layoffs were necessary, Williams said, because the center had been denied two crucial grants: one from a foundation that had supported the centerís medical program for several years, the other from MassHealth, the stateís Medicaid program.

Together, this lost grant money totaled $680,000, further compounding a projected loss of more than $1 million by the end of the fiscal year, she said Thursday in an email to staff she confirmed to the Herald she sent.


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