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Petition To Block Health Care Workers’ Minimum Wage Is ‘Misleading,’ Union Says

A nurse practitioner in a yellow mesh protective suit and scrubs pokes their head out of a wh
Nurse practitioner Alexander Panis at a mobile COVID-19 testing station in Compton.
(Robyn Beck
AFP via Getty Images)
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A petition is circulating to repeal L.A.’s $25 minimum wage mandate for health care workers at private hospitals.

The group leading the repeal – Say No to Unequal Pay Coalition – say that it's "unfair" and “inequitable” that the recently passed ordinance excludes workers at public health care facilities.

But the union representing the health care workers claims the messaging for the petition uses deceptive language to get people to sign it.

Renee Saldaña with Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West says signature gatherers are downplaying that the petition would overturn the new minimum wage.

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"They will have signs that say, like, a fair wage for all health care workers in Los Angeles, raise the wages for all health care workers, support health care workers, raise wages,” says Saldaña. “It's interesting because some of the messaging has even been very similar to the messaging in favor of the $25 minimum wage."

The ordinance in question is the Healthcare Workers Minimum Wage Ordinance, which passed July 8. It guarantees a wage bump for employees working in private health care facilities – from nurses to janitors to food service workers.

The coalition says it has been consistent and open about its reasons for the referendum, stating "the petition language itself that voters are signing, as well as the materials and advertising have been clear."

Saldaña says some people have reached out to the union for help to withdraw their signatures after signing the petition, adding that the union has turned in more than 1,000 signature withdrawal forms to the L.A. City Clerk.

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