15,000 HCA workers begin contract bargaining

A total of 15,000 nurses and other healthcare workers at HCA Healthcare-owned hospitals in Florida and Nevada have started bargaining to negotiate new contracts, their union announced March 2. 

The workers, who are represented by SEIU Nevada Local 1107 and 1199SEIU Florida, are the latest unionized workers to enter negotiations with Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare. Contract expirations are approaching for 22,000 union members at HCA-owned hospitals in California, Nevada, Texas, Kansas and Florida.

More than 3,000 unionized workers are already in negotiations in California, according to SEIU.

"Our No. 1 priority is patient safety," Adrian Martinez, a critical care registered nurse at Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas and member of the SEIU 1107 bargaining team, said in a union news release shared with Becker's. "Bargaining is our chance to advocate for better conditions and safer staffing so that we can retain staff and have the resources we need to do our job."

In Nevada, hundreds of union members have expressed deep concerns about staffing and retention and its impact on patient care, according to SEIU 1107.

Nicole Phang, a pharmacy buyer at HCA Woodmont Hospital in Tamarac, Fla., and member of 1199SEIU Florida, added in the union release that workers want "to hold HCA accountable and ensure that executives do right by us, our patients and our communities."

Las Vegas-based Sunrise Health System shared a statement with Becker's, saying that "against the backdrop of a national nursing shortage, exacerbated by a pandemic and continuing patient surges, our staffing is safe, appropriate and in line with other community hospitals." 

The system also pointed to its recruitment and retention efforts, including offering sign-on and referral bonuses based on the market and operational need for certain roles, and adding 843 registered nurses and 1,689 additional colleagues to Las Vegas hospital teams last year.

HCA shared the following statement with Becker's in February: "As always, our hospitals will bargain in good faith to reach agreements that are in the best interest of our caregivers, our patients and the communities we serve. HCA Healthcare's staffing is safe, appropriate and in line with other community hospitals. In the most recent safety ratings by the independent Leapfrog Group, 81 percent of HCA Healthcare's hospitals earned an 'A' or 'B' [letter grade]; this is 24 percentage points better than the national average."




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