Cooper boosting minimum wage, calling on other health systems to do so, too

Cooper University Health Care Cooper University Health Care is a prominent South Jersey system.

Cooper University Health Care is the first health care system in the state to address the $15-per-hour minimum wage debate, announcing it will implement the new minimum wage policy beginning Jan. 1 — and asking surrounding health systems to do the same.

Cooper board Chairman George Norcross III said the new policy affects 10 percent of the 7,500 employees at Cooper — one-third of which are Camden city residents — and includes patient service representatives, food and nutrition staff and critical care technicians.

Some of these employees will be getting an increase of $31,200 in annual salary as a result.

“We have an absolute obligation, as the largest employer in both the city of Camden and Camden County, to do the right thing and lead the way on providing a quality wage for our workers,” Norcross said in a statement. “In addition to being the right thing to do, we believe investing in our employees is a smart business decision that will pay dividends in the long run by helping us attract and retain talented people who will ultimately improve the health care experience for our patients. We are delighted that one-third of the employees who will receive a raise are Camden city residents and more than 450 are Camden County residents. 

“It is important that, as the city continues to rise and the private sector continues to invest here, that Camden residents benefit and that the new jobs being created are paying wages high enough to raise a family.”

Norcross also announced he was sending a personal letter to surrounding health care systems in the state and Southeastern Pennsylvania to adopt the same policy.