Could the Jackson Health System have paved the way for Miami-Dade County commissioners to solve a months-long contract dispute between Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s administration and labor unions?
Two weeks ago, the public hospital announced that it had reached an agreement with its workers to phase out an unpopular concession that for four years has required most county employees to contribute 5 percent of their base pay toward group healthcare costs. Under the agreement, three percent would go away now, retroactive to Jan. 1, and the remaining 2 percent would disappear on Sept. 30, the end of the budget year.
On Tuesday, commissioners could decide to accept the deal for Jackson’s two unions — and perhaps to impose similar terms for the remaining five unions representing other county workers.
It will be the third time the contract impasses come before commissioners, who have twice voted to end the entire healthcare contribution at once. Both times, Gimenez has vetoed the decision, saying restoring employees’ full pay would create a mid-year, $56-million budget shortfall that could lead to service cuts and layoffs.