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On July 8, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an ordinance establishing a $25 minimum hourly wage for workers at eligible privately owned healthcare facilities. The signing came after the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously June 29 in favor of raising the minimum wage.

The ordinance will affect workers in a range of roles at certain privately owned healthcare facilities in the city, such as acute care hospitals, affiliated clinics and skilled nursing facilities. Affected roles include clinicians, nurses, aides, technicians, maintenance workers, janitorial or housekeeping staff, groundskeepers, guards, food service workers, pharmacists and administrative or clerical workers. The increase excludes managers and supervisors.

According to a July 8 news release from the mayor’s office, the new minimum wage becomes effective 31 days after the ordinance is published. The office estimates the minimum wage increase will affect about 20,000 healthcare workers.

SEIU-UHW originally collected more than 145,000 signatures to put the pay increase on the Nov. 8 ballot. Councilmen Curren Price and Marqueece Harris-Dawson decided to move more quickly, pushing their colleagues to adopt the measure immediately.

But some are not happy with the new law.

A coalition of Los Angeles hospitals and other health facilities launched a campaign on Tuesday to repeal a newly enacted ordinance boosting the minimum wage for thousands of healthcare workers to $25 per hour, saying the law will have a harmful effect on medical care across the city. The coalition acted just days after Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the measure into law.

The No on the Unequal Pay Measure Coalition, a group sponsored by the California Assn. of Hospitals and Health Systems, said it will start gathering signatures this week for a referendum to put the wage hike question in front of voters.

The coalition claims that the new $25/hr minimum wage standard applies to certain workers at private hospitals, hospital-based facilities and dialysis clinics, but completely excludes workers who do the exact same job at public hospitals, clinics, and health care facilities, including all University of California and county hospitals and clinics.

The also complain that the measure also completely excludes workers at health care facilities not affiliated with hospitals, including community health clinics, Planned Parenthood clinics, nursing homes, medical centers, and more.

They say “hospitals and health care providers go to great lengths to pay all health care workers competitive, living wages with strong benefits. In fact, the average nurse working in a Southern California hospital earns $57 per hour, the average clinical worker earns $28 per hour, and the average non-clinical worker in a hospital earns approximately $18 per hour.”

To qualify the referendum for the ballot, the coalition would need to gather nearly 41,000 valid signatures from L.A. voters within 30 days. Such a move, if successful, would block the wage increase from going into effect – at least until an election to determine its fate.

A Los Angeles Times report on the new law says that at Gateways Hospital and Mental Health Center in Echo Park, administrators said they are weighing whether to scale back operations – possibly by as much as 20% – as a way of absorbing the increased costs. That 300-bed psychiatric facility serves a large number of people who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, hospital CEO Phil Wong said in an interview.

In Woodland Hills, the nonprofit Motion Picture and Television Fund is now looking at how to cover a $1.5-million yearly increase in labor costs, according to Bob Beitcher, the fund’s chief executive. That increase is currently set to take effect in August.

Beitcher said some security guards at the motion picture fund’s 300-bed campus, which provides care for seniors who have retired from the entertainment industry, would receive pay increases of 40% to 50%. Some nursing assistants would see pay hikes of 30% to 40%, he said.

“The only way we could absorb that is either to cut back on services, which isn’t something we’d like to do, or fundraise another million and a half [dollars] per year,” he said.