$25 minimum wage for some LA healthcare workers gains traction

On June 21, the Los Angeles City Council tentatively approved a measure that would increase the minimum hourly wage for workers at privately owned hospitals to $25, according to the Los Angeles Times

The proposed wage increase, which is not finalized, would affect workers in a range of roles at privately owned healthcare facilities in the city. Affected roles include clinicians, nurses, aides, technicians, maintenance workers, janitorial or housekeeping staff, groundskeepers, guards, food service workers, pharmacists and administrative or clerical workers. It excludes managers and supervisors.  

The Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West has supported the proposed wage increase and petitioned to get it on the November ballot in Los Angeles.

"Healthcare workers have put themselves and their families at risk to save lives and care for others during this pandemic," the union said as part of their effort. "Many have left their jobs, and more are considering leaving soon. Raising the minimum wage will help retain workers."

But hospital representatives have opposed the measure because it excludes workers at many Los Angeles healthcare facilities, according to the Los Angeles Times. They also argued it would increase costs and result in workers leaving facilities that serve disadvantaged people.

"This is an incredibly, incredibly flawed measure. People doing the same jobs at two different facilities are not getting paid the same," Adena Tessler, regional vice president for Los Angeles County for the Hospital Association of Southern California, said at the June 21 City Council meeting, according to the California Globe

Council members voted 10-2 in favor of the proposed increase, opting not to let voters decide on the issue in November, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

Council members will take a second vote on the measure next week because the first one was not unanimous, according to the newspaper.

The minimum wage in Los Angeles will be $16.04 as of July 1.

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