Another CA city votes to increase healthcare wages stirring controversy about where the funds will come from

A 3rd metropolis in Los Angeles County has elevated minimal wages to $25 per hour for sure personal healthcare employees, stirring controversy concerning the influence on healthcare employees at public hospitals. 

On Monday, the town council of Monterey Park, about seven miles from downtown Los Angeles, voted in favor of a $25 minimal wage for healthcare employees within the metropolis, simply two weeks after the town of Downey did the identical. The wave of wage will increase follows the lead of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti who signed an ordinance on July 8 establishing a $25 minimal hourly wage for employees at eligible privately owned healthcare amenities. 

Although the wage improve is a win for some, questions stay about the place the cash will come from.

“They’re gonna have to chop prices and providers,” mentioned Erin J. McLaughlin, legal professional and shareholder for Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s healthcare follow, specializing in labor and employment. “And I feel it’s going to essentially put an extra pressure on what’s an already strained business so then the query turns into, ‘can a affected person obtain ample care primarily based on the place they’re positioned?’”

The coalition, “No on the Los Angeles Equal Pay Measure,” is a bunch of hospitals and healthcare employees opposing the wage improve. The group estimates that the ordinance excludes 90% of healthcare employees. In line with McLaughlin, this disparity will result in an excellent better workforce scarcity. 

“For those who’re assured a better minimal wage at a non-public facility, you’re going to see these employees go search jobs at personal amenities and we’re going to have what’s much more dreadful of a scenario when it comes to the labor scarcity on the federally certified well being facilities,” McLaughlin mentioned.

The healthcare group is split by the wage will increase, with some teams such because the SEIU-United Healthcare Staff West, a labor union, lauding the pay hikes.

“The pandemic has worsened staffing shortages in native hospitals and lots of employees have left the business as a result of power stress, burnout, and low pay,” mentioned Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Staff West in a information launch. “We commend the Monterey Park Metropolis Council for voting to guard public well being for residents and addressing a staffing scarcity that threatens affected person care. By making certain healthcare employees earn a good wage that displays their very important work, Monterey Park can retain and appeal to the employees wanted to make sure the standard of healthcare doesn’t decline within the metropolis.” 

The union collected the required variety of signatures to place the minimal wage improve on every of the ballots the place votes have taken place up to now.

Opponents say unequal wages will worsen the already dire healthcare employee scarcity as a result of the wage improve solely impacts a small variety of hospitals. 

All of us agree that healthcare employees are heroes — however these unequal pay measures are inequitable for employees, dangerous and expensive for sufferers, and dangerous for our communities,” George Greene, the president of the Hospital Affiliation of California mentioned, after the vote in LA. The priority is whether or not, or when, healthcare employees at public healthcare techniques will give up since they aren’t receiving a pay improve. 

Healthcare suppliers filed a lawsuit on July 14, claiming Mayor Garcetti’s ordinance violates the equal safety and due course of clauses of the U.S. and California constitutions that say a legislation should deal with equally located individuals the identical. 

“The unexpectedly authorised ordinance is unequal and unfair. It excludes employees at 90% of healthcare amenities within the Metropolis of Los Angeles for no obvious cause,” Greene mentioned. “It discriminates in opposition to healthcare employees and suppliers alike, and we’re asking the courts to overturn it.” 

California isn’t the one state grappling with the way to compensate healthcare employees. In Ohio final week, Adena Well being System introduced it could increase its caregiver wages to $15 per hour. The elevated minimal wage will influence 14% of Adena’s employees, who will see their hourly pay improve in a phased rollout plan starting in September. 

Photograph: FG Commerce, Getty Pictures



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