LOS ANGELES, CA – The Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn, on providing health care to County contracted employees.
Los Angeles County has relied on a subcontracted workforce of over 2,000 security, janitorial, environmental and food service workers to keep critical services like County-run hospitals, clinics, and juvenile halls running throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As County hospitals reached, then exceeded, intensive care capacity, these workers risked possible COVID-19 infection to clean patient rooms, prepared and served patient meals, enforced social distancing and secured County facilities.
Despite their essential role in maintaining the County’s safety net services, many of these frontline workers are compensated below the industry standard and many are not afforded standard benefits like adequate paid time off and affordable employer-paid healthcare. Low standards for County contracted workers bring down standards across these already low wage service industries, exacerbating high rates of job turnover and housing insecurity among the majority Black and Brown workforce.
“There is no more critical time for these workers to have health care insurance than now during a global pandemic, most especially those working in our County hospitals and facilities,” shared Supervisor Solis. “Without health insurance, it is likely that these contracted staff and their family will be our clients at our hospitals when they get sick. To that end, it is critical that the County provide these workers with health care coverage and other benefits given that their work is critical to the security, safety and day-to-day operations of our facilities.”
“These contractors are doing work for the County and I am embarrassed that many of them have been denied access to affordable health insurance by their employers,” shared Supervisor Hahn. “This is not what the County stands for and I think we need to consider bringing these jobs in house so these workers can get the healthcare and benefits they deserve.”
With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is likely that some of these frontline workers and their dependents would qualify for heavily subsidized insurance available in the State’s health insurance exchange, or Medi-Cal but may not be aware of these benefits available to them. Additionally, many of these workers are not eligible for government-subsidized healthcare because they have opted out of plans offered by their employers which are technically compliant with the ACA Employer Mandate but not practically affordable, especially for those workers with dependents to support.
This motion directs the County’s Chief Executive Office along with the Department of Health Services, County Counsel, Internal Services and other relevant departments to report back in 90 days on the feasibility and a timeline to provide security, janitorial, and environmental contractors, as well as cafeteria service workers in the County’s hospitals with health care coverage and other benefits. The motion also requests cost estimates for five or more paid sick days, six or more paid holidays each year, and five or more vacation days, as well requires all future Proposition A contracts for these targeted positions to include a Labor Project Agreement.
To view the full motion, click here.