SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West president issues statement on new state minimum wage law

OAKLAND, Calif.  – SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West President Dave Regan issued the following statement on California’s healthcare worker minimum wage law (SB 525):

“California’s healthcare worker minimum wage law (SB 525) addresses critical staffing shortages by helping to retain existing healthcare workers and attract new caregivers to the industry. The state needs to hold fast to its commitment to invest in its healthcare workers and solve the staffing crisis in our hospitals, clinics, and medical centers. 

Passed overwhelmingly by the state legislature and signed by the Governor, the bill had backing from across the healthcare industry, including the California Hospital Association and frontline healthcare workers.

The impact of the new healthcare minimum wage on the state budget has been severely overstated. As part of a compromise among healthcare stakeholders, the minimum wage will be gradually phased in over the next few years. In addition, a UC Berkeley Labor Center report states that the impact on the California budget will be partially or fully offset by low-paid workers no longer relying on Medi-Cal for their healthcare coverage.

With billions in profits, the healthcare industry has the financial resources to raise wages for their lowest-paid workers. Even before Governor Newsom signed the healthcare worker minimum wage into law, many healthcare employers had already implemented or incorporated a path to a $25/hr minimum wage for their workforce, including Stanford Healthcare, Fresenius Medical Care, Satellite Healthcare, and the biggest healthcare provider in the state, Kaiser Permanente in its largest labor contract. 

Frontline healthcare workers are counting on the state of California not to waver from its commitment to addressing the patient care crisis and supporting those who provide that care.”

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