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SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is a healthcare justice union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers, patients, and healthcare activists.

Last year the SEIU-UHW union filed 10 ballot initiatives in 10 cities – Anaheim/Los Angeles/Long Beach/Culver City/Duarte/Downey/Inglewood/Monterey Park/Baldwin Park/Lynwood – aimed for the November 2022 ballot.

And this year the union proposes a ballot measure in Los Angeles to limit compensation for executives, managers, and administrators of privately owned hospitals and other healthcare facilities in Los Angeles as provided in the initiative to no more than the total compensation for the President of the United States, currently $450,000 annually.

The city is in the process of counting and validating the signatures submitted for the initiative.

The union claims that “CEOs at 3 Los Angeles hospitals make in excess of one million dollars annually, including Bernie Klein, CEO of Providence Holy Cross Medical Center who made $1.3 million in 2019; Paul Viviano, CEO of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, who made $1.5 million in 2020; and Thomas Priselac, CEO of Cedars-Sinai who was paid an astounding $5.7 million in 2020.”

This measure, if passed by the voters, shall be known as the “Limit Excessive Healthcare Executive Compensation Ordinance.”

The proposed limitation would apply to any executive, manager or administrator at privately owned hospitals in Los Angeles, as well as skilled nursing facilities, residential care facilities and all facilities within integrated health systems. The $450,000 cap is inclusive of all compensation, including salary, paid time off, bonuses, incentive payments and lump-sum cash payments.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the California Hospital Association has filed suit challenging the measure, arguing that the U.S. president earns more than $450,000 per year when travel expenses, discretionary funds and residence in the White House are factored in. The hospital association cited calculations by a consultant who concluded that the total compensation tops $1.2 million.

The alleged numerical mismatch means the ballot measure petition contained “calculated untruths” that misled voters who were asked to sign it, the CHA argues. It is calling for the courts to block the initiative from appearing on the ballot.

Supporters of the ballot measure have called the CHA’s counter-calculation a “tortured explanation” in a court filing.

At the court hearing scheduled for April 4, a Los Angeles Judge denied the challenge from the California Hospital Association.

“The court’s decision allows Los Angeles voters to decide where their healthcare dollars should go: To improving patient care or into the pockets of corporate executives,” said Emergency Room Assistant Gabriel Montoya.