Immediate Action Needed on CHA-SEIU Minimum Wage/Seismic Reform Proposal

With just under three weeks left in the 2022 legislative session, we need your help on two of the hospital field’s top priorities this year: workforce and 2030 seismic mandate reform. 

CHA and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are together advancing a proposal to create long-term stability and predictability for hospitals and a path toward higher wages for California’s health care workforce. This proposal, developed with guidance from the CHA board, includes our long-sought seismic reforms to refocus the 2030 seismic standards on emergency services while providing a seven-year extension to meet those standards (for reference, this outline provides an overview of CHA’s seismic proposal).   

Specifically, we urgently need your support in one or both of the following ways: 

  • Have a substantive conversation, by August 19, with the Assembly members and senators who represent districts served by your organization (use this overview along with the key messages below to urge your legislators to support this proposal); send a brief recap of your conversation to CHA Legislative Advocate Mark Farouk at [email protected] by the end of the day on Friday, August 19. 
    • Health care is about people taking care of people. That means we must continually recognize and invest in the people who form the backbone of California’s health care system. 
      • Coming out of the pandemic, California’s health care system is fragile and our greatest need is for a stable, reliable, and supported workforce. 
    • This proposal represents a historic alignment of health care employers and workers, who recognize and agree that the only path to a California that can meet the health care needs of Californians is one that creates stability and predictability. 
      • This proposal helps ensure that health care resources are delivered to the system’s most vital asset: its people, in service of caring for others. Limited health care resources should be invested where they matter most — in the people who deliver care everyday to Californians. 
    • With this proposal, we all are committing to building a strong, durable foundation for the future of health care delivery. 
      • This proposal puts health care workers on a path to $25 per hour within two years for those living in California’s higher-cost regions, with commensurate increases in other regions across the state. 
      • This proposal recognizes health care workers for their contributions and addresses hospitals’ long-standing need to meet the 2030 seismic mandate, a more than $100 billion requirement to upgrade their facilities so all services can be operational following an earthquake. Without reform, hospitals may be forced to close within the next seven years — putting health care workers and communities at risk. 
      • California hospital buildings are among the safest in the world after decades of upgrades to ensure the facilities in which health care workers deliver care will not collapse following an earthquake. 
      • California hospitals are facing deep pandemic financial distress. More than 50% are operating with negative margins and losing money every day on delivering care to patients. 
  • Visit Sacramento between August 15 and August 26. A member of the CHA team will help arrange for you to meet in person with key legislators as they deliberate on the joint proposal; please reach out to CHA Legislative Advocate Mark Farouk at [email protected] if you’d like to come to Sacramento to speak directly to legislators. 

Background 

As California begins to climb out of the pandemic, our health care system is in deep financial distress. More than 50% of hospitals are operating with negative margins and losing money every day on delivering care to patients. 

At the same time, health care’s most valuable asset — its people — are physically and mentally drained after more than two extraordinarily challenging years. As we have shared, unions have moved $25 minimum wage efforts in multiple cities in the Los Angeles region and are fully expected to expand this effort statewide.  

At the same time, the clock is ticking on the 2030 seismic mandate. Hospitals recognize the need and value of meaningful investments in California’s health care workforce, yet face a more than $100 billion requirement to upgrade their facilities by 2030 so all services can be operational following an earthquake. 

CHA and SEIU have come together on a pragmatic proposal, supported by both boards. This is a realistic and important opportunity to achieve both goals this legislative session.