FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 10, 2022
Renée Saldaña, [email protected]
Stockton, CA– Healthcare workers from across the San Joaquin Valley rallied together in front of St. Joseph’s Behavioral Health Center in Stockton in support of SB 525, a bill that will set a $25 minimum wage for healthcare workers in California and address staffing shortages in hospitals and other health care settings.
“In the ER we don’t stop working even for a moment,” said Julia Lopstain, an Emergency Room Secretary at St. Joseph’s Hospital.“Management tells us that we are required to take breaks, but with the staffing we have it’s almost impossible to do that. For us, taking care of the patients comes first.”
“Social workers proud to work with our colleagues in a team setting to improve patient care,” said Rebecca Gonzales, Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs of the National Association of Social Workers. “Low wages have contributed to the workforce shortage. A fair wage will keep workers at healthcare settings and improve patient care.”
“Pandemic wages were low, and living was still hard,” said Patricia Barrett from the San Joaquin County Democratic Central Committee. “Post-pandemic, everything from rent, utilities, gas, and food have increased in cost and wages have not… How do we justify having those that risked everything survive off of minimum wage? While we were working from home, they were working multiple shifts tirelessly in unknown territory, making sure that our families, friends, and neighbors were being tended to… for this, we need to open our hearts and vote for SB 525 so that our healthcare workers receive a fair wage increase. They are true heroes.”
More info on SB 525:
SB 525 creates a first-in-the-nation statewide healthcare worker minimum wage of $25 an hour to retain and attract new workers to the healthcare field. The bill recently passed the Senate’s Labor, Public Employment and Retirement committee with a vote of 4 to 1.
A recently published University of California Berkeley Labor Center report found that a $25 healthcare worker minimum wage would lift wages for about 469,100 healthcare workers. Three out of four – or 75.4% – of workers who would see increases in wages are women, and 76% are workers of color. Almost half of all healthcare workers affected are Latino.
Already, five California cities have passed a living wage for workers in the past year with even more considering similar local measures. In November, voters passed Inglewood’s Measure HC that ensured all private-sector healthcare workers in the city receive a $25 an hour wage. Wage increases have passed in Inglewood, Los Angeles, Downey, Long Beach, and Lynwood.
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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. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org.