San Diego Adds Medical Workers To Living Wage Ordinance
The San Diego City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved adding medical workers, including paramedics and emergency medical technicians, to the city's 10-year-old living wage ordinance.
Several council members said they were shocked last year when they learned many first responders were making close to minimum wage. Councilwoman Marti Emerald said some had to work overtime to pay their bills.
"That's not only lousy for them, but these medical workers who are so fatigued out there could likely make mistakes," she said. "So this is about public safety as much as it is about paying a fair and reasonable wage."
A representative of AMR, the city's contracted ambulance service provider, told the council that the company would offer a raise to its medical workers consistent with the living wage ordinance, even if the council had rejected the expansion.
The city fined AMR's subsidiary Rural Metro last year for slow response times. The company has since said it is meeting the city's standards, and attributed the problem to difficulty in hiring and retaining workers.
The council also voted to amend the language of the ordinance for clarity, and to accept a report on the ordinance prepared by city staffers. That report lists living wage contracts in 10 different areas, ranging from landscaping and janitorial services to pest control. It also found that more than half of all contractors reviewed in fiscal 2016 were in violation of the ordinance.
The ordinance was passed in June 2005 and took effect in July 2006. It requires employers to pay a certain wage to employees who perform work on service contracts covered under the ordinance.
The living wage for the current fiscal year is $12.02 per hour in regular wages, plus $2.41 per hour in health benefits.