Jackson Health System issues furloughs for 11,000 workers

Highlighting drastic measures that hospitals are taking, executives at Jackson Health System in Florida last week ordered furloughs for its 11,000 workers, including the executive team.

Employees earning between $25,000 and $200,000 a year must take a total of two weeks of unpaid leave from now until Sept. 30, 2012, including four days before Dec. 31, reports the Miami Herald.  Employees who make less than $25,000 must take five days this fiscal year, with two days this calendar year. And for those earning more than $200,000, they must take 11 furlough days, with four days before this calendar year ends.

Facing a $95.1 million loss this past fiscal year, according to the South Florida Business Journal, the move is expected to save the public hospital system $27.5 million, CEO Carlos Migoya said in the Miami Herald article.

"Unfortunately, declining patient volume and protracted negotiations with organized labor are jeopardizing our ability to adhere to the balanced budget," Migoya wrote in a statement.

The Services Employees International Union (SEIU), the union representing nurses and healthcare professionals, has called the move illegal.

"It is merely a bargaining maneuver that [Migoya] probably thinks will cause the employee unions to meet his demands for concessions... We will be taking legal action if necessary," SEIU said.

Furloughs have become an increasingly popular solution to financial stresses and a way to avoid layoffs, notes the Miami Herald

For more information:
- read the Miami Herald article
- read the South Florida Business Journal article

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