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Nurses at HCA hospitals reach contract agreement

Registered nurses from 15 hospitals in Florida owned by the national chain, Hospital Corporation of America, have reached tentative agreements on union contract negotiations.

Nurses across Florida and several other states have been picketing, and recently voted to strike if their issues were not resolved during the negotiation process, according to the nurses' union, the National Nurses Organizing Committee.

The new agreements affect nurses working at a number of HCA-affiliated hospitals in Florida, including Oak Hill Hospital in Spring Hill, Largo Medical Center, Trinity Medical Center in New Port Richey and St. Petersburg General Hospital and Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg. Hospitals in Bradenton, Sarasota, Port Charlotte, Sanford and Kissimmee also are affected.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Nurses at many HCA hospitals say they are willing to strike over pay, staffing, security

The updated contracts tentatively include:

• Additional staffing, which should boost the numbers of nurses in areas of the hospitals with critical needs.

• Raises of 4 to 20 percent depending on years of experience and job classification to improve recruitment and retention.

• Continued health insurance coverage for nurses and their families.

• Improvements to tuition reimbursement and coverage for nurses needing family medical leave.

• Security improvements to prevent workplace violence.

Tentative agreements also were reached with nurses at HCA hospitals in Missouri, Kansas, Texas and Nevada. Overall during the negotiations, the union represented 7,000 registered nurses, including 4,000 in Florida.

The agreements, which would run through May 31, 2021, still face a vote by union members.

"After many months of dedicated, coordinated bargaining we have settled on terrific new agreements with all the hospitals," Jack Hood, a registered nurse in the ICU at Oakhill Hospital, said in a statement. "The gains we have achieved are truly remarkable, and will greatly improve our ability to recruit and retain nurses so that we can give our patients the care they deserve."

Registered nurses affiliated with the National Nurses Organizing Committee have been in talks since contracts expired in May in Florida. The committee is affiliated with National Nurses United, one of the largest and fastest-growing unions of registered nurses with 150,000 members.

Contact Justine Griffin at or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.