Members of the union representing about than 230 caregivers at Whidden Memorial Hospital in Everett recently announced they had overwhelmingly ratified a new contract agreement with the hospital that will provide them with a minimum starting pay rate of $15 per hour effective July 1. The union, 1199SEIU, said the contract also provides wage increases to unionized workers at all experience and pay grade levels, and would continue a Labor-Management Quality Committee. David Cecere, director of media relations for Cambridge Health Alliance, which owns the hospital, said by e-mail that the alliance “has a longstanding relationship with our 14 unions representing approximately two-thirds of our workforce. We cannot comment on specific contract details while we have negotiations pending with some of our other unions. In the ongoing dialogue with our labor unions, we are constantly looking for ways to fairly compensate our employees while ensuring that we are appropriately allocating resources to allow us to continue our critical role as a safety net hospital system.”John Laidler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.