Florida Members Chalk up Political and Contract WinsApril 21, 2022
Long hard battles for reform are beginning to pay off.
Florida members have been celebrating both legislative and contract wins in the early part of this year, which were a long time coming.
Following intense lobbying in the state capital, Tallahassee, 1199ers convinced the legislature to pass a budget including a $15 minimum wage for all Florida nursing home workers.
Starting in October of this year, nursing homes will receive specially ear-marked Medicaid money that can only be spent on raising nursing home worker wages to a minimum of $15. This wage floor applies to all nursing home workers, including CNAs, dietary, housekeeping and laundry workers. This would not have happened but for the determined lobbying of 1199 nursing home members in Tallahassee year in and year out, telling their personal stories and moving legislators. This isn’t the end of this battle, with $15 an hour being seen as the first step on way to further increases, with quality, affordable benefits.
“This is a major victory that we accomplished together,” said longtime CNA Sophia Colley, who is an 1199SEIU Delegate from Titusville, Florida, “It’s a reminder that when healthcare workers unite through our union and fight, we win.”
At the same time, Florida 1199ers who work at Tenet hospitals have been able to secure the largest increase they have received in many years. The agreement with Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, Good Samaritan Medical Center and West Boca Medical Center also addresses inequity by introducing wage scales based on years of experience.
1199SEIU Delegates have been advocating for wage scales for both ancillary and RNs over many years of negotiations, and it is a significant step forward in lifting up experienced employees who have been making less than or the same as new hires.
Most employees will receive the maximum yearly raise until reaching the appropriate place on the scale based on years of experience with no caps.