“Target is paying $24 an hour.” The statement from Cass Gualvez, who identified herself as a 10-year resident of Culver City and member of the Service Employees International Union clarified the challenge of staying in a job where hours are long, facilities are broken and infection is always a risk when much less demanding jobs are offering better wages.
At the Culver City Council meeting on Dec. 5, 2022, the council passed a $25 per hour minimum wage ordinance for healthcare workers, after multiple years of testimony from workers at Southern California Hospital. The ordinance, which cited both cost-of-living challenges and worker retention issues, passed with Mayor Dr. Daniel Lee, Yasmine Imani McMorrin and Alex Fisch all voting in favor, Council member Goran Eriksson voting no, and Vice Mayor Albert Vera, Jr. abstaining.
The workers, who have been seeking support from the city on the issues for the past several years, have spoken often about the difficult working conditions, and the challenges of dealing with the pandemic. Southern California Hospital ( formerly Brotman) is owned by a hedge fund that has been make large profits from the facility while deferring crucial repairs.
Since 2020, workers at Southern California Hospital have regularly attended City council meetings, highlighting the many ways that Southern California Hospital has left them understaffed and underpaid, and most of all, unprepared to be able to offer secure and stable health care.
The ordinance will return for a final reading at the next council meeting on Dec. 12, 2022.