A second union movement in three years is under way at Tampa (Fla.) General Hospital after the public hospital's new administrator announced a money-saving plan to privatize its work force and leave the state's generous pension plan.
Bruce Siegel, Tampa General's new president and chief executive officer, won board approval last month to create a private subsidiary that would provide staffing on a contract basis to the hospital. Tampa General's 3,400 workers would become employees of the subsidiary. The move would allow the 681-bed hospital to set up its own pension plan and exit the state pension system.
The hospital would contribute less to the private retirement system, saving $11.5 million the first year and $90 million over 10 years.
Benefits under the new system also would be reduced.
In response, Robert McNutt, a hospital employee, said the Service Employees International Union will begin to work this week on organizing the hospital's employees.
McNutt said all six officers of the hospital's Employee Advisory Committee resigned last week in opposition to the hospital's privatization effort. He said the committee was not consulted about the plan.
A Tampa General spokesman said the hospital's new pension plan will create more job security for employees because it makes the hospital financially stronger and more competitive with private hospitals.
Through the first 10 months of 1996, Tampa General has lost $5.4 million on net revenues of $244 million, despite laying off 55 managers this year. A consultant recommended the hospital cut its work force by nearly 300 employees.
In 1993, nurses and other professional staff at Tampa General Hospital rejected the union by a 591-497 vote. If the present union drive is successful, Tampa General would become the state's second-largest public hospital with a union. The 1,300 nurses at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital unionized in 1991.