HCA hospitals strike FL union deal

HCA and the SEIU Florida Healthcare Union have agreed on a contract covering 4,000 workers at six of the state's hospitals. The contract raises wages, setting the lowest pay rate at $9.15 an hour, as well as creating patient-care committees giving staff members an avenue for proposing process improvements. It also offers some job security features, a real plus given that some fear HCA will eventually sell some hospitals to pay off debt. Nurses are particularly happy about the patient-care committee feature of the new deal, as they believe it will give them a chance to speak up about nurse understaffing in some of the hospitals. Of course, they're also pleased by planned wage increases, which should boost salaries up to 23 percent for some nurses through the end of the contract in 2011.

To find out more about the contract:
- read this Miami Herald article