FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 10, 2022
Renée Saldaña, [email protected]
Oxnard, CA– Healthcare workers from across Ventura County rallied together in front of St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard 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.
“As a single mother in the past, I had to work two jobs seven days a week to make ends meet,” said Blanca Torres de Reyes, a certified nursing assistant at St. John’s Hospital in Camarillo. “Today, inflation is skyrocketing, and the cost of living is higher than ever before. Many of my colleagues have to work two jobs to pay their rent and provide for their families, I see it every day. This is not sustainable or fair.”
The workers were joined by Ventura County Supervisor Vainey Lopez, Buen Vecino, the League of Latin American Citizens, Ventura County Young Democrats, Ventura County Democratic Party, Central Coast Labor Council, and Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice.
“In our state of California, the majority of healthcare workers are women and people of color,” said Willie Lubka, Executive Director of Buen Vecinos. “Three out of four healthcare workers who would see the increase in wages are women, and 76 percent are workers of color. This is a social justice bill, a racial justice bill, and a way to help all of our community members be uplifted.”
“Staffing shortages are impacting everyone and we’ve all experienced that as we’ve entered the medical system seeking healthcare,” said Ventura County Supervisor Vianey Lopez. “We know it is frustrating when the wait times are long because there isn’t enough staff available to treat families— to treat us—and this is why we need to invest in supporting and advocating for SB 525.”
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.