House looks to revamp hospital’s labor deals


The News Service of Florida

The Miami-Dade County Commission could lose power to approve labor contracts with employees at Jackson Memorial Hospital, under a proposal approved last week by a House committee as part of an omnibus health-care bill (HB 7113).

State Rep. John Wood, R-Winter Haven, proposed an amendment that would allow appointed members of the Public Health Trust of Miami-Dade County to execute labor contracts without the approval of the county commission.

“I’m trying to take politics out of labor negotiations,” Wood said before the Health & Human Services Committee approved his amendment in a 12-5 party-line vote.

The proposal drew opposition from Miami-Dade County, Jackson and the Service Employees International Union, which represents Jackson employees.

Critics questioned the need for the change and said the public health trust officials would still be subject to political pressure.

“This doesn’t take politics out of anything,” said Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach.

After the amendment was added, the committee approved the overall bill in a 15-2 vote.

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