FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 8, 2023
Renée Saldaña, [email protected]
OAKLAND, Calif. — Dialysis workers at Fresenius Juniper Fontana in Southern California, Fresenius Elk Grove near Sacramento, and Satellite Vallejo in the Bay Area have voted to stand together for improved patient care, safer working conditions, and better jobs by uniting in SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW).
Workers at these clinics voted overwhelming to unionize: 72 percent of voters at Fresenius Elk Grove, 91 percent at Satellite Vallejo, and 100 percent at Fresenius Juniper Fontana voted in favor of forming their union.
With these victories, 15 groups of dialysis workers across the state have now voted to unionize. 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.
“Dialysis workers throughout California are fed up with seeing our patients suffer because we’re so understaffed.” said Mark Calma, a certified clinical hemodialysis technician at Satellite Vallejo. “We’re fed up with struggling to provide for our families even though we work long, grueling shifts and give all we have to keep our patients alive. Now that we’re union we’ll have the power to win better care for our patients and more security for our loved ones.”
Ten of the 15 groups of dialysis workers who have voted to unionize are owned by Fresenius Medical Care. In 2021, Fresenius made $1.3 billion in profits and paid its CEO nearly $6 million in compensation.
Five of the newly unionized groups of dialysis workers are owned by Satellite, 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 and Ventura Counties to the Bay Area, and now the 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 Elk Grove, Fresenius Juniper Fontana, and Satellite Vallejo who voted to unionize include registered nurses, patient care technicians, licensed vocational nurses, certified clinical hemodialysis technicians, environmental services technicians, receptionists, and administrative assistants.
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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.