Jackson Workers Put State Rep. Bileca On the Spot

bileca4Last week, an amendment proposing to gut the County Commission’s power to decide labor contracts at Jackson was sneaked onto a healthcare bill at the last moment.

This anti-worker legislation, proposed by a Central Florida representative with no known interest in a Miami hospital system, was a direct shot at Jackson employees.

When the Miami Herald wrote about it, everyone affected said they were against it — SEIU Local 1991, Jackson management and the County. Left unanswered — who in Miami might have asked that Central Florida rep. to file the amendment?

The one obvious link is Miami Rep. Michael Bileca, who also serves as a member of the Public Health Trust, an appointed board that serves as the regulatory step between Jackson and the County Commission. The amendment proposes to give the labor contracts power to the PHT.

Is he involved? Nobody knows for sure because he wouldn’t return press calls and then developed a serious case of missing-in-action.

Because the Legislature is on Easter break, Bileca is back in his district. We thought we’d see him at the April 17 PHT meeting, a great opportunity to set the record straight. But he never showed.

bileca2So we went to his office with about 25 people to ask him a simple question — Where does he stand on the amendment to take away the County Commission’s final say over labor contracts at Jackson? It’s pretty much a yes or no answer. He chose to hide instead.

His assistant told us that he was home with family (the PHT apparently didn’t rate an appearance on the one week this session he could have made it) and he’s only a part-time legislator and wouldn’t be able to come meet with us.

bileca5We suggested that she call him and put us on speaker phone so we could have a short conversation that way. No dice.

Our friends at 1Miami made a short video of the visit (big thanks!). Click here for the video.We’ll keep asking the questions and working to ensure that this amendment is not adopted by the Senate. Stay tuned!

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