Miami-Dade County

Jackson Health, labor agree on new contract

New labor contracts ratified Monday by trustees for Miami-Dade’s taxpayer-owned Jackson Health System ensure staffing ratios for nurses, prohibit hospital administrators from contracting out certain jobs, and call for immediate one-time bonuses of up to 2 percent of base salary for nearly all Jackson workers employed since April.

The collective bargaining agreements still need approval from Miami-Dade commissioners, who may consider the contracts Wednesday, and from members of the labor unions representing most of Jackson’s estimated 10,000 employees, SEIU 1991 and AFSCME 1363, who will vote on Thursday and Friday.

Martha Baker, a registered nurse and president of SEIU 1991, said the union’s three-year contract will help retain Jackson employees, particularly nurses, while ensuring patient safety because of new staffing ratios spelled out in the agreement.

The contracts also call for an end to concessions, including the suspension of annual pay raises, which Jackson employees had agreed to when the public hospital system faced near-bankruptcy in 2010-11.

“The concessions are over,” Baker said, “and the step raises are back on.”

Carlos Migoya, chief executive of Jackson, said the agreements reward employees for the “sacrifices” they made to help reverse the hospital system’s dire finances, while representing a “rational, forward-thinking approach to compensation for 21st-century healthcare workers.”

Among the highlights of the agreements: the return of annual raises for early-career employees, contractual language that prohibits Jackson administrators from contracting out certain jobs, and new health insurance options, including a so-called “Jackson First” plan that encourages employees to use the public hospital and provides lower premiums for family coverage.