Florida Healthcare Workers Protect Employee Benefits by Voting Down HCA-Affiliated Hospitals’ Proposal to Cut Dental & Retirement Restoration PlansFebruary 5, 2019
Nurses and other healthcare employees who work at HCA-affiliated hospitals in Central and South Florida have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal that would have cut their existing benefits. HCA-affiliated hospitals offered the proposed cuts in exchange for new benefits, despite HCA’s $3 billion in profits during the first nine months of 2018 and their announcement that they would invest the majority of a $500 million tax windfall in new employee benefits.
The proposal from HCA-affiliated hospitals would have taken away dental and retirement benefits to offset costs for family leave, tuition and student loan plans after HCA publicly announced to the news media last summer that the company would use the Trump corporate tax windfall and invest the money in employees. The proposal was in addition to other recent changes HCA-affiliated hospitals have made to health insurance and 401K plans that increase out-of-pocket costs for employees.
“I have a family to support and I can’t afford to pay any more out of my pocket,” said Leora Stirrat, a certified unit coordinator and cardiac monitor technician who has worked at Blake Medical center for the past 40 years. “We need HCA-affiliated facilities to step up and honor the announcement they made and invest in us, their employees.”
Last month, prior to voting on the proposal, members participated in press conferences at three HCA-affiliated hospitals in Central and South Florida to express their concerns about the proposed cuts and the impact they would have on their families. Workers also shared their personal stories on social media.
“As a single income parent, my budget is very tight,” said Karen Wong, an RN at JFK Medical North. “Any additional out of pocket costs would take a toll on me, my family and many of my colleagues.”
The widespread rejection of the plan should send a strong message to HCA-affiliated hospitals that nurses and healthcare workers are united and committed to protecting the benefits they rely on to support their families. Employees are calling on HCA-affiliated hospitals in Florida to follow through on the plan to fund new benefits from corporate tax breaks instead of by cutting existing benefits.