Wage boost for Inglewood hospital workers expected to pass; Duarte measure failing? (UPDATED)
Updated at 8:28 p.m. Nov. 8 with comments from council president.
Inglewood’s labor contracts for its hospitals and ambulance services have been approved in a majority vote by the city council, but there are some remaining technical issues that will need to be resolved to ensure that the deals are finalized at a later date.
The contracts were passed by the council Friday night in a vote of 6-1, with the only council vote against was by Councilwoman Michele Duarte, who made a motion to put a hold on the contract negotiations.
“I just don’t like a lot of the language in there,” Duarte said of the contracts and what she called “extraordinarily bad” labor talks. She pointed out that the last labor dispute between Inglewood and the UH Medical Center was in March 2012, more than two years ago, and that she had complained enough throughout that year for the hospital to pay its employees higher base wages. She also noted that Inglewood had been “good” to her and her family, including by offering to cover her parking and to allow her to return home from work. She said that she now wished that she had gone to the voters, who had voted her back into office when she ran in 2011.
“We can’t be in an election year and in an unstable bargaining situation, with our jobs and pensions hanging in the balance,” she said. “We’re in a very precarious situation. … I feel I have to vote no.”
But Duarte had one important caveat she made clear.
“The contract doesn’t say there’s only one hospital, just that there’s one and it’s for the Inglewood Medical Center,” she said, and that “everybody wants to get to the end result of getting everybody back.” She added that she had some concerns about the new contract, but that “I still think we want to get there,” particularly for a contract for the emergency room.
The labor negotiators met with Inglewood management representatives over the past month for