HCA Hospitals Might Make Employees Choose Between New Healthcare Benefits and Dental Insurance
Unionized workers at a Florida health care organization are being asked to decide whether to keep their benefits or to upgrade to a package with new perks. But in exchange for things like tuition reimbursement they say they’d be forced to give up benefits like dental coverage.
Vice President of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East Dale Ewart says the workers at 19 HCA sites in the state will start voting on the proposal next week. If they vote to accept a new benefit package that includes paid leave and tuition reimbursement, they’ll be forced to give up their dental benefits which he says could put workers’ health at risk.
“When you’re trying to make ends meet and try to make your dollars stretch. Any additional cost is a problem. And although not linked to this particular package in the last year these hospitals have taken steps to cut down on other benefits that negatively impact employees in a negative way.”
Workers will finish deliberations at the beginning of the new year after advocating for a proposal that would be a combination of the old and the new benefit packages.
“Dental care is an important part of healthcare and so to ask healthcare workers to exchange one set of benefits that they need for another set of benefits that they need and want is both unfair and unjustified.”
Earlier this year, the company announced it planned on investing in worker training after received more than 300 million dollars in tax breaks.
In a statement HCA said, quote, “While this union negotiates a separate benefits package for its members, we have offered these new programs to them in exchange for minor changes, primarily to dental benefits. We understand that the union will allow its members to vote on this offer next week, and we hope that they will accept our proposal and the new benefits for our colleagues."
The negotiations affect 6,000 workers currently enrolled in the dental plan.
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