Arizona initiative drive would raise hospital workers’ pay, make other changes

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By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Daily Star 

A California union is funding a bid to convince Arizona voters to force hospitals here to pay their workers more.

An initiative drive being launched Monday, Aug. 26 would mandate that everyone working at a hospital get an immediate 5 percent pay increase if the measure is approved by voters in 2020. There then would be successive 5 percent pay increases for the following three years.

Rodd McLeod, spokesman for what’s being dubbed the Healthcare Rising Arizona campaign, said that would apply at all levels, including medical staff, nurses, social workers, orderlies and custodians.

With a prior voter-approved state law already mandating a $12-an-hour minimum wage for all workers beginning in January, that would put the base pay for hospital employees after the fourth year at $14.59 an hour.

McLeod said it is in the public interest to raise hospital wages, even if it does raise costs for hospitals — and, potentially, by extension, for patients who do not have insurance.

Higher wages are just part of the campaign effort financed by the Service Employees International Union.

The initiative, if it makes the ballot and is approved, also would:

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