Members Vote Down HCA Affiliates' Proposed Cuts To Dental & Retirement Restoration Plans!

February 21, 2019

In early January, nurses and other healthcare employees who work at HCA-affiliated hospitals in Central and South Florida overwhelmingly rejected a proposal that would have cut their existing benefits.

HCA-affiliated hospitals offered the proposed cuts in exchange for new benefits, despite the company’s $3 billion in profits during the first nine months of 2018 and their earlier promise to 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. HCA publicly announced last summer that the company would use the Trump corporate tax windfall to invest in employees.

The benefit-change proposal was in addition to other recent changes HCA-affiliated hospitals have made to health insurance and 401K plans that increase out-ofpocket 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.”

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.

Workers also shared stories about the proposed cuts and the impact they would have on their families.

“As a single income parent, my budget is very tight,” said Karen Wong, an RN at JFK Medical North in West Palm Beach.“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 sent a strong message to HCA-affiliated hospitals: Nurses and healthcare workers are united and committed to protecting their benefits.

Employees are calling on HCA-affiliated hospitals in Florida to follow through on their plan to fund new benefits from corporate tax breaks instead of by cutting existing benefits.

1199 Magazine | January - February 2019