FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 13, 2022
DOWNEY, Calif. – The Downey Council has voted 4-0 in favor of a $25 minimum wage for healthcare workers in the city. The new minimum wage would cover all private sector healthcare workers in hospitals, integrated health systems, and dialysis clinics in Downey.
“The pandemic has worsened staffing shortages in Downey hospitals. Rather than investing in workforce development, hospitals have been padding their profits and paying outrageous salaries to executives who seldom interact with patients,” said Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West. “We commend the Downey City Council for voting to protect public health for residents and addressing a staffing shortage that threatens patient care. By ensuring healthcare workers earn a fair wage that reflects their vital work, Downey can retain and attract the workers needed to ensure the quality of healthcare doesn’t decline in the city.”
The Council’s vote comes after SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, a union of healthcare workers, collected the required amount of signatures to put the minimum wage increase on the ballot in the November election. Downey is the second city in Southern California to pass a fair wage ordinance for healthcare workers after Los Angeles.
“Many healthcare workers feel under appreciated, and like they’re not being fairly compensated for their work,” said Gabe Montoya, an emergency room assistant at Kaiser Downey Hospital. “I’ve seen people leave for better-paying jobs, especially as the risks of working in a hospital increased during the pandemic. A fair minimum wage will help struggling families and stop healthcare workers from leaving their jobs.”
A recent survey of over 30,000 SEIU-UHW members, Crisis in Care, highlighted the short-staffing crisis in California, with 83% of responding healthcare workers saying their facility is understaffed, and up to 20% have considered leaving the field in the past year. At the same time, healthcare corporations are reporting record profits.
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Media Contact: Renée Saldaña – [email protected]
SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is a healthcare justice union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers, patients, and healthcare activists united to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality care for all Californians, provided by valued and respected healthcare workers.