FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 1, 2022
Monterey Park, Calif. – The Monterey Park City Council has voted 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 Monterey Park.
“The pandemic has worsened staffing shortages in local hospitals and many workers have left the industry due to chronic stress, burnout, and low pay,” said Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West. “We commend the Monterey Park 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, Monterey Park 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. Monterey Park is the third city in Southern California to pass a fair wage ordinance for healthcare workers after Los Angeles and Downey.
“After years on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19, many healthcare workers feel underappreciated and like they’re not being fairly compensated,” said Clara Nunez, an admitting representative at Garfield Medical Center in Monterey Park. “We love caring for our patients and the community and we take great pride in our work. But 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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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.