Resolution in Support of the Language Pay Premium at UW

February 22, 2024

WHEREAS, the experience of pursuing healthcare can be emotionally and medically complicated; and 

WHEREAS, there is growing evidence that language barriers between patients and their health care teams yield worse quality of care; and 

WHEREAS, patients with language barriers also experience intersectionality with xenophobia, racism, and other systems of oppression; and 

WHEREAS, those intersections may drive inequities in medical care, such as lower rates of gynecologic cancer screening, possible delayed interventions in cardiac care, and an overall decreased confidence in the healthcare system and medical treatment outcomes due to these barriers; and 

WHEREAS, the Affordable Care Act mandates that patients experiencing language barriers have the right to dignified, high-quality care, including access to qualified medical interpreters yet current availability does not meet current demand; and

WHEREAS, the skill of fluency in multiple languages is a skill like computer programming or operating heavy machinery, and should be additionally compensated as such; now, therefore, be it 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that MLK Labor uplifts and celebrates the work of Union healthcare professionals who, in addition to their regular duties, utilize their fluency in one or more languages for the betterment of their patients; and be it

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that MLK Labor condemns efforts by the University of Washington to eliminate the language pay premium for Union employees, devaluing the skills of primarily BIPOC workers, and instead chooses to contract out that work at a much higher expense; and be it

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that MLK Labor will send a letter to UW protesting the termination of the language pay premium from these union members.

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