Loma Linda University Health Raises Its Minimum Wage to $13 an Hour

In a letter to employees, Loma Linda University Health President and CEO, Dr. Richard Hart, announced that the institution "is adopting a living wage to ensure that every employee, working at least 20 hours per week, that shares with us their skills and commitment receives a wage that will help support a family."

Effective November 1, all regular, benefit-eligible hourly employees of Loma Linda University and Loma Linda University Medical Center will receive at least $13/hour. "Looking forward, our intent is to continue to increase that minimum over the next few years, to at least $15 per hour," Dr. Hart said.

More than 800 Loma Linda University Health employees will benefit from the pay increase.

The move comes amid a push by a California labor union to raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour. The Central Valley Business Times reported that the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West collected the 500,000 signatures necessary to put the wage increase on the statewide ballot. Workers in the fast-food industry and other low income workers joined rallies in Southern California this week to generate support for the wage hikes. If California voters approve the ballot initiative, companies would be required to gradually raise the minimum they paid employees, up to $15 an hour by 2021. California's current minimum wage is $9 an hour, set to increase to $10 an hour in 2016.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. U.S. President Barack Obama has called on Congress to raise it to $9.00 by year's end.

In his letter to employees, Hart indicated Loma Linda's desire to do far better by its workers: "In support of a living wage that exceeds the state and federal minimum wage, we intend to similarly invest in our employees, promoting higher wages for workers at the lower end of the pay spectrum. According to state estimates, the hourly living wage for single adults in California is approximately $12.30 for full-time work. Our policy helps ensure that Loma Linda University employees earn enough to meet their basic needs and that of their families."

Speaking by phone, Loma Linda University Health Senior VP Mark Hubbard told me that he suggested the idea of raising the minimum wage during an administrative meeting on annual wage scale increases. The administrative team embraced the idea, as did Loma Linda University's Board of Trustees, Hubbard said. The wage increase will cost Loma Linda University Health an estimated $1 million annually, which Hubbard noted is accounted for in the institution's market adjustment analyses.

Hart's letter sought to balance concerns for saving and investing, careful stewardship, and "making higher education available to those without the means to pay." Hart also noted that mission work and outreach locally and globally will remain among Loma Linda's top priorities.

Hubbard declined to provide a timeline for when the pay rate would rise again, noting that it would be imprudent to make too many specific guarantees given the large-scale impact of the increases, but confirmed that the $15 an hour mark is the university's goal.

READ: Letter to Loma Linda University Health Faculty and Staff Regarding Living Wage

Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7185
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Since I haven’t lived in Calif. for more than 35 years, I can’t speak from personal experience, but I do know that the cost of living in Calif. is much higher than it is where I live. The average cost of a home is around 4 times as much in Calif., as it is where I live. Land is much more expensive there, as well. So, $13/hour would be a fairly decent wage here for an unskilled worker, but I suspect that it won’t go that far in southern Calif. Most of my employees are getting around $12/hour, and they think that’s pretty good, given the cost of living around here.

My point is that I don’t think Loma Linda is being all that generous. This idea of a “living wage” is good, but it makes no sense to pay a teenager just starting their first part time job a “living wage.” There needs to be an entry level wage for beginners, with the possibility of advancement. And advancement means more than just getting raises. If someone’s aspirations go no higher than flipping burgers at the local fast food joint, or sweeping sidewalks, they should not expect to be payed the same as someone who has worked hard, learned new skills, and been entrusted with new responsibilities.

If the whole country goes the route of a $15/hour minimum wage, expect the high interest rates and inflation of 35 years ago to resurrect themselves. This younger generation has never experience high inflation or high interest rates. If the minimum wage activists get their way, it won’t be pretty.

I agree with you, Blc, that $13.00 doesn’t seem like a livable wage, especially in Southern California. What was not fleshed out was how generous the available benefits were. As I understood the employment issues discussed in the press about companies like Walmart, health insurance was not available to a large portion of the work staff with hours of work allowed limited so that government could not require that employees be covered.

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This wage increase to $13 an hour is for employees who work twenty hours or more a week and benefit eligible. This percentage increase would not apply to part time employees such as your teenager first part time job.

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I disagree with you, Birder. I live in southern California. My college-educated children work in southern California, where they struggle to find a “living wage.” Compared to a large number of local employers, this is VERY generous. I have friends who work at Loma Linda University and at the Medical Center, and I’m sure they are proud of the position leadership there has taken.

It’s easy to be critical. Often, our criticisms say more about us than they do about those we are critical of. I don’t like to be critical myself, but I generally aim my criticism toward those who are excessively critical.

I’ll add this. We live in a society with a shrinking middle class. Keeping entry wages low while executive compensation soars to unimaginable heights will do as much to destabilize our nation as any economic policy. Civil restlessness is the inevitable result of the class disparities we are increasingly seeing.

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Loma Linda administration saw what was coming and decided to raise the wages before they became a news item as a large employer with low pay.

It’s easy to say that it’s fine for a teens first job, but many are much older and have families. The janitors and cleaning crew of the hospital are seldom teens. How can anyone support a family on $13/hr. in Southern California is a miracle. Many were not able to go to college and needed to work to help support their families when college would have beckoned.

The real threat, as mentioned., is the continuing larger discrepancy between the highest and lowest paid workers in this nation. With a little more money they could improve the economy by consuming more of the nation’s goods. Many are eligible for welfare because of their lower wages. IOW, what companies are not paying them, we taxpayers are making up in subsidies.

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Elaine
As you have stated, lower weekly wages, because of limiting themselves to 29 hours a week, allows these persons to continue to receive subsidized housing, food stamps, free phone, other services.
These services in most states are allowed because of the income.
Once these persons receive the higher wages, will this NEW income at Loma Linda and other places push them over the Allowable Income and cause them to lose “Low Income Benefits”?

In the Fast Food Industry, with higher wages things will have to change.

  1. Implement Automation so one can have fewer employees doing the same amount of work.
  2. Inflate the cost of food prices to cover the increased cost of doing business.
    All the other industries will have to tackle the same problem. Higher costs of doing business to stay in business.
    This of course will cause inflation in prices at the retail. So will cost even more for goods and services.
    Seems like a loose loose situation for everyone except for the State of California and the Federal Government who will be collecting Taxes on Wages Earned, Collecting Taxes on Goods and Services sold at Retail.

Edit-- Will Loma Linda being a Hospital and having contracts with Medicare, Medicaid, VA, Multiple Insurance companies be able to base their receipts for service based on their costs of doing business?
That is, charge more for services and receive more money per patient through these Contracts?
Maybe that is what they are looking toward.

The only reason this nation’s largest retailer, WalMart, has been able to have such low prices: their wages are so low that for years the taxpayers have subsidized the workers as below the poverty level. Consumers have paid lower prices, but higher taxes to cover all the low paid workers. If their employees were paid more, taxpayers would not be subsidizing such companies. Because it is not well understood, consumers have enjoyed lower prices and higher taxes. There is no free lunch.

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Coming from Australia where we have a federally mandated minimum wage of AUD $17.29 an hour, I still don’t understand employers’ reticence to increase the minimum wage to USD $15. Having visited the US and Canada (BC) recently around the time of the GC, I think that employers are being greedy. The cost of living in Australia is high, yet despite our high minimum wage, the cost of most goods and services (except for cars and houses) is cheaper than in the US and Canada. The minimum wage should increase to $15 NOW, and the only side effect people will feel is business owners earning slightly less profit. But profit shouldn’t be made by taking advantage of workers. Any worker working full time should be able to pay rent and provide for his/her family. You should not need to work two or more jobs or live on the edge of the poverty line.

(I think part of the issue is the amount of money the professionals get. How much do the doctors, pharmacists etc earn in LLU Health? Presumably a lot more than here in Australia.)

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When the clinical faculty moved from the White to the new hospital at Loma Linda the understanding was they could earn up to but not exceeding $25,000. A year. That understanding lasted about as long as it took to drive to LLU from LA. The dean of the school of dentistry called me into his office and said, Tom I am going to allow you to have a private practice and you can earn up o $25,000. A Year. i replied, Sir when I was born in the United States of Anerican no limit was placed upon my power to earn. The fact is I have accepted a call to teach here. I agree to limit myself to the conditions of employment, but please get it out of you head that you are giving me anything. I am giving the university and the church my entire proffessional effort gladly. Tom Z

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Somebodies wages have to soar to unimaginable heights to pay for all the politicians pandering.
Californians are absolutely bezerk.

“The wage increase will cost Loma Linda University Health an estimated $1 million annually, which Hubbard noted is accounted for in the institution’s market adjustment analyses.”

I don’t begrudge anyone their success. I do, however, find it amusing to think about the fact that there are administrators in the Adventist hospital system who could personally provide this increase by taking a cut in their salary and still live far above the standards of the rank and file. My reason for pointing this out is not to cast stones at those who have worked hard to get to where they are professionally. I just don’t want anyone to break their arm patting themselves on the back.

(Note: Before anyone gets torqued off at my comments 1) I’m not a Socialist; 2) I’m not a Democrat; 3) I’m not a Republican; 4) I’m just a person thinking out loud.)

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Loma Linda University Health Raises Its Minimum Wage to $13 an Hour, 13 November 2015 Jared Wright said; “Speaking by phone, Loma Linda University Health Senior VP Mark Hubbard told me that he suggested the idea of raising the minimum wage during an administrative meeting on annual wage scale increases. The administrative team embraced the idea, as did Loma Linda University’s Board of Trustees, Hubbard said.”

Courage is a choice that requires action. Senior VP Mark Hubbard, and his colleagues at Loma Linda Health are to be commended, admired, and recognized for making this decision to raise the minimum wage to $13 an hour. The new professional is a person who can say, In the midst of the powerful force-field of institutional life, where so much might compromise the core values of my work, I have found firm ground on which to stand—the ground of personal and professional identity and integrity—ground from which I can call myself, my colleagues, and my workplace back to our true mission.

Why doesn’t this courage spill over into other areas of our church governance? Imagine our brother Ted Wilson speaking at the next executive committee at the GC with the same courage and conviction and calling for an end to gender discrimination.
Courage for the future leads us into this new day — still unyielding in our Christian faith, in our commitment to academic excellence, and in our service to others. Courage for the future leads us into this new day — still unyielding in our Christian faith, in our commitment to academic excellence, and in our service to others.
“I want to possess enough courage to fill a Campbell’s soup can. And then I want to use my courage to feed the homeless. Isn’t courage not only filling, but delicious?” ~ Jarod Kintz
Courage to me is doing something daring, no matter how afraid, insecure, intimidated, alone, unworthy, incapable, ridiculed or whatever other paralyzing emotion you might feel. Courage is taking action……no matter what. I hope that LLU Health will continue in this path of institutional ethical integrity. I just hope that others in Adventist leadership will learn to do the right thing and support fairness for women in ministry.So some are afraid? Be afraid. Be scared silly to the point you’re trembling and nauseous, but do it anyway!

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When I was in boarding school 49 years ago the minimum wage was $1.35, which I got paid to work in the cafeteria. Tuition was $1600 a year. Now tuition is $22,000 and the minimum wage is $9.00 here in California. So go figure. Minimum wage earners are forever just trying to play catch up and are forever falling further behind. So I don’t see raising the minimum wage as a problem. I praise LLU health center for taking a step in the right direction.

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