SEIU Local 1991 President Martha Baker, RN, reiterated that members would accept no less than the full 4% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) the union put on the table in July.
Baker reminded management that Jackson unions have always mirrored the same COLA as the other Miami-Dade County employees, as set by the Mayor and Commission. Several unions have already agreed to a 4% COLA for 2017 based on the increase to the County tax base.
“We’re holding fast on the four percent,” Baker said. “We don’t want to break that more than 30-year pattern of being the same as the County on the COLA.”
AFSCME president Vivienne Dixon, who joined Baker at the bargaining table, also refused to back down on the 4% on behalf of Jackson’s 5,000 service and tech workers.
Management’s proposal to take the Standard HMO plan out of the insurance options was met with surprise and skepticism by the entire bargaining team.
“It doesn’t feel right for you to make money or save money based on employees paying more,” Baker said. “We think there’s a lot of room for improvement by working together to increase patient satisfaction, improve employee morale, and save millions for Jackson.”
Baker pointed out that Jackson needs to implement a wellness program to encourage employees to take care of their health, which in itself would save money. The unions have also led the way on efficiencies by proposing the Jackson First plan and helping to educate members about the advantages of the Jackson First and Select plans.
Jackson Chief Financial Officer Mark Knight said at the end of the meeting that management would retract its proposal to remove the Standard HMO option.
The next bargaining meeting will be held in coming weeks.