The labor laboratory of California recently took an interesting turn with the passage of the Fast Food Accountability and Standards (FAST) Recovery Act. That meant fast times for fast food workers, who could receive $22 minimum wage after January 1, 2023. This development could spark food service industry trends across the U.S, yet the effects are also spreading throughout California and into another industry: healthcare.
The SEIU propelled FAST into existence, and the union wants the same for workers at California’s private medical facilities, including hospitals and psychiatric facilities. A new report from The Sacramento Bee details the city-by-city big labor push for $25 minimum wage at these facilities. In retrospect, this news shouldn’t be too surprising, given that the publication details how fast food workers will soon earn a higher wage than some medical techs, one of whom told his story while discussing the incongruity.
Inevitably, FAST will financially strain fast food franchises, and the healthcare industry will feel similar pain if the SEIU gets its way. We’ll keep our eyes open for updates, but in the meantime, here’s a U.S. healthcare strike roundup with a gig economy chaser:
– California: 850 nurses and other Tenet Healthcare workers authorized a strike while citing staffing shortages that impact quality of care. The National Union of Healthcare Workers could set a November strike date amid ongoing contract negotiations
– New York: 1,200 resident physicians are organizing to join the Committee of Interns and Residents of SEIU. The union drive is taking place at Bronx’s Montefiore Medical Center, where residents first began to discuss unionization during the initial days of Covid-19. 65% of these interns reportedly declared intent to vote for joining the union.
– Minnesota: After a 3-day September strike by 15,000 nurses, no solution seems to be forthcoming after nearly two months at the bargaining table. The Minnesota Nurses Association now plans a followup rally to press hospitals, which maintain that the union’s demands for 30% pay increases is an unaffordable condition.
– Connecticut: 100 workers went on strike at Windham Hospital to protest overtime rules and seek higher pay and better health insurance benefits.
Also, watch out for the gig economy’s impact on the healthcare industry. The American Hospital Association pushed back at the NLRB’s notice of proposed rulemaking to retool joint-employer status. The industry trade group wants hospitals exempt from compliance, given that the healthcare industry is already being hit particularly hard by workplace shortages and needs no more chaos.