Dialysis Workers at Four More Clinics Join Historic Unionization Wave

Dialysis Workers at Four More Clinics Join Historic Unionization Wave

Workers in Riverside, Sonoma, Santa Clara, and Sacramento Counties Vote to Form Union, More Elections Soon

June 29, 2023

OAKLAND, Calif. — Dialysis workers at Fresenius Riverside, Satellite Rohnert Park, Satellite Milpitas, and Satellite Folsom have voted to unionize by joining SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) for improved patient care, safer working conditions, and better jobs.

Workers at these clinics voted overwhelmingly to unionize: 100 percent of voters at Satellite Folsom, 100 percent at Satellite Rohnert Park, 84 percent at Fresenius Riverside, and 74 percent at Satellite Milpitas voted in favor of joining SEIU-UHW.

With these victories, 21 groups of dialysis workers across the state have now voted to unionize. Collectively, these are the first unionized dialysis workers in California with more holding union elections soon.

Workers across the industry are voting to unionize because of unsafe working conditions, low staffing levels, and wages far below what other healthcare workers earn — all of which threaten to undermine patient care and the ability to recruit and retain quality caregivers.

“We unionized to take better care of our patients and our loved ones,” said Bonnie Oconer, a patient care technician at Fresenius Riverside. “We’re so understaffed that every shift is a constant rush to give our patients the care they need. And even though many of us work two jobs, we can barely provide for our families because our wages haven’t kept up with the cost of living and are way below what other healthcare workers earn. Going union gives us the power to do better by our patients and our families.”

Thirteen of the 21 groups of dialysis workers who have voted to unionize are employed by Fresenius Medical Care. In 2021, Fresenius made $1.3 billion in profits and paid its CEO nearly $6 million in compensation.

Eight of the newly unionized groups of dialysis workers are owned by Satellite Healthcare, which made profits of $17.2 million in California alone in 2021 and paid its CEO $1.4 million in compensation.

This win is part of a historic unionization wave sweeping through California’s dialysis industry. The staff at these three clinics join hundreds of dialysis workers statewide who have voted to unite in SEIU-UHW since December — from San Diego to San Bernardino, Ventura, and Riverside Counties to the Bay Area and Sacramento region.

These victories are also part of a broader national wave of unionization in sectors as diverse as Amazon warehouses and Starbucks where workers are taking a stand against poor working conditions, low wages, and exorbitant corporate profits and executive pay.

The dialysis workers at Fresenius Riverside, Satellite Rohnert Park, Satellite Milpitas, and Satellite Folsom who voted to unionize include registered nurses, patient care technicians, licensed vocational nurses, certified clinical hemodialysis technicians, environmental services technicians, dietitians, and social workers.

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Media Contact:
Renée Saldaña
[email protected]

SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is a healthcare justice union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers, patients, and healthcare activists united to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality care for all Californians, provided by valued and respected healthcare workers. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org.