FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 23, 2022
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – More than 200 healthcare workers from across California will meet with legislators, calling on lawmakers to enact a statewide minimum wage for healthcare workers. Widespread support and momentum for a healthcare worker minimum wage are growing after four city councils in Southern California voted to establish a healthcare worker minimum wage.
“I’ve worked in healthcare for 21 years in a physically and emotionally demanding job. We are understaffed and current pay is not enough to keep experienced healthcare workers from leaving, especially after all we’ve experienced through this pandemic,” said Livier Olmedo, a patient care technician at a dialysis center. “We take pride in our work and love caring for our patients. But too many caregivers struggle to pay rent and put food on the table, causing high turnover and worsening the staffing crisis. We are counting on the California legislature to stand with us and enact fair wages for healthcare workers statewide.”
Today the hospital industry walked away from a conceptual agreement that would have broadly established a healthcare worker minimum wage of up to $25 and update the timeline and scope for seismic upgrades to hospitals. The hospital industry demanded a loophole that would have allowed hospitals to evade the new minimum wage by outsourcing or moving work to other facilities. The hospital industry also refused to commit to using properly trained construction workers to ensure safety in seismic upgrades of their facilities.
“Through the process of passing local ordinances and talking to elected officials about statewide legislation, we’ve discovered an enormous appreciation for healthcare workers among lawmakers and the public and an understanding of how low wages are making the healthcare staffing crisis worse,” said Dave Regan, President of SEIU-UHW. “There is a broad understanding that it was frontline healthcare workers, not greedy hospital executives, who put their lives on the line and continue to carry California through the COVID crisis. We are calling on every city in the state to pass a local ordinance establishing a $25 minimum wage immediately. We are calling on the legislature and, if necessary, the state’s voters to establish a $25 minimum wage within the year.”
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.
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