City Council passes minimum wage for healthcare workers

At a special City Council meeting on the evening of Monday, Dec. 5, the outgoing progressive majority voted in favor of a $25 minimum wage for healthcare workers.

Action Item A2 proposed the, “Introduction of an ordinance establishing a $25.00 per hour minimum wage for healthcare workers at covered healthcare facilities.” It also called for direction from the council regarding enforcement, and an implementation date.

The ordinance itself states that, “establishing a requirement for covered healthcare facilities to provide a minimum wage of $25.00 per hour to healthcare workers protects public health, supports stable incomes, and promotes job retention by ensuring that healthcare workers are compensated for the substantial risks, efforts, and expenses they are undertaking to provide essential services in a safe and reliable manner as the COVID-19 virus remains a threat to the community.”

The public speakers were split pretty evenly at Monday’s meeting, with some saying that the ordinance is discriminatory because it doesn’t cover all healthcare workers. Others against the minimum wage said that the petition had failed, so it’s not for an outgoing City Council to make the decision.

On the other hand, many healthcare workers spoke up. They basically pleaded for a minimum wage that would allow them to pay their bills while keeping Culver City residents safe.

Council Member Yasmine-Imani McMorrin is the only current Council Member to vote in favor of the ordinance who will be remaining on the council next year (although incoming Council Member Freddy Puza did speak in favor of it). 

McMorrin said that, “I believe there is dignity in work. Everyone should earn a living wage.” McMorrin also pointed out that the county have enforced similar ordinances elsewhere.

Outgoing Council Member Alex Fisch added that a minimum wage is something that has been fought hard for in the United States. 

However, Council Member Göran Eriksson said that this is a labor issue, and should be dealt with by the union and the employer. The City, he said, shouldn’t wade into this issue at all.

Vice Mayor Albert Vera said that the ordinance is discriminatory as it excludes 82 percent of the healthcare workforce. He said that he would be abstaining, because it doesn’t go far enough.

But Mayor Daniel Lee disputed that, and argued that the main duty of the City Council is to “do as much as we can for the people of Culver City.”

The ordinance passed 3-1. Eriksson was the one “nay” vote, while Vera abstained.