Voters to decide on healthcare minimum wage increase in 2 California cities

Voters in the Los Angeles County cities of Duarte and Inglewood, Calif., are set to vote Nov. 8 on whether to raise the minimum wage for workers at private hospitals, dialysis centers and other healthcare facilities, the Los Angeles Times reported Oct. 24.

The push for higher wages is being led by healthcare union SEIU-UHW, which is hoping such local measures will lead to more statewide initiatives. The union and the California Hospital Association failed to agree on a statewide deal in August, the report said.

The wage measures up for a vote in the two cities cover employees including security guards, clerical workers, nursing assistants, aides, housekeepers, groundskeepers and others who work at privately run healthcare locations.

The move has received pushback from hospital groups and others who are concerned that raising wages for some could make their locations uncompetitive or that such sites could go out of business. In Los Angeles, for example, Barlow Respiratory Hospital has been among a group of facilities suing over a city measure to boost wages to at least $25 an hour, arguing it "may very well cease to exist" if the increase is approved, according to the report.

Hospitals and health systems opposing the Inglewood and Duarte measures have reported contributing more than $3 million against the measure, while SEIU-UHW has contributed roughly $1.5 million to back it, according to the Times.

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