SEIU 1021

SEIU healthcare workers rally for Senate Bill 525 in Sacramento at state capitol


Healthcare workers in California escalated their support for a crucial piece of legislation last Thursday, May 25, gathering at the state capitol in downtown Sacramento. Spearheaded by state senator Maria Elena Durazo of Los Angeles, the bill aims to establish an unprecedented $25 minimum hourly wage for healthcare employees.

This significant wage increase would not only aid in retaining existing healthcare workers but also attract new professionals to the field, paving the way for a fairer and more sustainable healthcare workforce.

The rally held at the capitol was a powerful display of unity and determination among healthcare workers. Faced with numerous challenges and the ongoing battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, these frontline heroes made their case for improved wages and better working conditions. The $25 minimum hourly wage proposed in the bill is an ambitious step towards recognizing the immense value and dedication of healthcare employees. By establishing the nation’s first such wage standard, California aims to set a precedent for the rest of the country, highlighting the importance of fair compensation in attracting and retaining talented individuals in the healthcare sector.

Workers took a strong stand, emphasizing the urgent need for policymakers to acknowledge and address the patient care crisis caused by staffing shortages. With over 300 workers from across the state participating, the rally aimed to shed light on the pressing issues faced by healthcare and behavioral health workers. The workers marched through downtown Sacramento, engaging in various activities such as screenprinting rally posters, creating video testimonials, and making buttons, all aimed at raising awareness and garnering support for Senate Bill 525. This crucial legislation, currently being reviewed by the Senate Appropriations Committee, seeks to establish a $25-an-hour minimum wage for healthcare workers, behavioral health workers, and their supporting staff, including custodians, security officers, and other contractors.

“The healthcare industry is faced with an escalating staffing crisis coupled with an increase in service demand. SB 525 will not only assist in retaining existing staff but can also contribute to ensuring safe staffing throughout the entire care continuum by motivating individuals to enter the healthcare industry,” said SEIU 1021 member Dr. Norlissa Cooper, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN, who works as an registered nurse at San Francisco General Hospital.

By voicing their concerns at the rally, workers sent a powerful message to policymakers in the state capitol. Healthcare workers emphasized the critical nature of the patient care crisis and the adverse impact of staffing shortages. The proposed legislation, SB 525, can be a solution to these challenges by providing a higher minimum wage for healthcare and behavioral health workers, as well as their support staff.

The rally’s activities, such as the march and the creation of awareness materials, aimed to garner public support and highlight the importance of passing this bill. With workers actively advocating for fair wages and improved working conditions, the rally served as a platform to reinforce the urgent need for policymakers to understand and address the pressing issues faced by the healthcare industry in California.