Nurses follow suit over prison privatization suitby Dara Kam | January 26th, 2012
The Florida Nurses Association has filed a lawsuit against the state corrections department over a prison health care privatization effort ordered by lawmakers in the budget last year.
The nurses are using the same argument that the Florida Police Benevolent Association successfully used to kill a prison privatization plan also included in the budget. A Tallahassee judge ruled that the way lawmakers went about the outsourcing was unconstitutional and needed instead to be the subject of a stand-alone bill.
The Department of Corrections is now taking bids to privatize all health services to the state’s 100,000 inmates. The outsourcing would put more than 1,000 nurses and other health care professionals now working for DOC out of a job, according to FNA director of labor relations Jeanie Demshar.
“We believe that any effort to turn thousands of state employee jobs over to private companies needs to be vetted by the public, with input from those workers,’’ Demshar said in a statement.
The suit was filed on Tuesday in the Leon County Circuit Court, where Judge Jackie Fulford scrapped the privatization of all corrections operations – affecting more than two dozen facilities and nearly 4,000 workers – in the 18-county southern portion of the state from Polk County to the Florida Keys.
Lawmakers are now reviving the prison privatization plan, slated for a Senate vote on Tuesday.
Read the lawsuit here.