LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Council gave final approval Wednesday to an ordinance raising the minimum wage for people working in some city health care facilities to $25 an hour.
The minimum wage initiative for employees working in healthcare facilities, which was brought to council through a successful petition campaign, will now move to the mayor’s office for final consideration. The ordinance increases the minimum wage for workers, adjusting it each year to take into account the increase in the cost of living.
The order also prohibits employers from funding the minimum wage increase by laying off workers or reducing benefits or hours.
The order only applies to private facilities, including hospitals, clinics, skilled nursing facilities and residential care facilities. It applies to workers, including clinicians, orderlies, orderlies, technicians, maintenance workers, janitors, housekeepers, office workers and administrative workers.
The council had the choice of adopting the initiative or submitting it to the voters. In a 10-2 vote last week, the council opted to pass the measure without going to a public vote. Council members Joe Buscaino and Paul Krekorian opposed the measure. Because the vote was not unanimous, the issue had to come back for a second vote, and on Wednesday it was approved on a 10-0 vote. Neither Buscaino nor Krekorian voted on the matter.
People who work for health care facilities in Los Angeles do not have their own minimum wage law and are included in the city’s general minimum wage of $15, which will rise to $16.04 on Friday. The Los Angeles minimum wage is based on the region’s consumer price index for urban wage earners and office workers in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
Several workers spoke to the council ahead of the vote last week, with one saying he has to work outdoors – like painting houses or doing construction – to make ends meet outside his home. work. Another told the council that people working in healthcare facilities should be able to focus on their patients without worrying about having enough money to feed their families.
Some health industry representatives have spoken out against the idea, with one urging the council to bring the issue to voters so they can fully weigh the issues, while warning that it will create a Unfair playing field for some clinics in the region which will have to increase considerably. wages to compete with a limited workforce.
Councilman Paul Koretz said last week he was concerned about the health care sector in general, saying it couldn’t meet worker needs.
“Especially during the pandemic when people have been exhausted for incredibly long hours,” he said. “They were burned by the people in their care who were dying. … Obviously, all of you who work in health care love helping people. You wouldn’t do it otherwise because the financial reward is not enough. Especially at this level – people risking their lives when they could work at Target, or work at McDonald’s… with no risk, no hard work, no burnout.
A group known as the No on the Los Angeles Unequal Pay Measure coalition criticized the ordinance for creating unfair wage requirements in the industry.
“The Los Angeles City Council’s hasty passage of this unfair measure is unfair to workers, costly to patients and risky to Los Angeles,” according to the group. “The vast majority of health care workers in the city will be excluded by this discriminatory measure, because the wage standard only applies to workers in private hospitals and dialysis clinics, but completely excludes workers who do the exact same work in public hospitals in our city. , community clinics, federally licensed health centers, nursing homes, urgent care centers, and many other facilities.
“In fact, the measure excludes workers from 90% of the city’s health facilities. In addition to being inequitable and unfair, the order will compromise access to care at local health care providers – especially community clinics and providers who serve underserved populations. The City Council should have put this measure to the ballot in November to give Los Angeles voters the choice to vote on this unfair policy.
According to its website, the coalition is funded by the California Association of Hospitals and Healthcare Systems.