FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 20, 2022
OAKLAND, Calif. — In a historic first, healthcare workers at three Fresenius dialysis clinics in Brentwood, Antioch, and Camarillo have voted to form a union. The workers, who voted to join SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) in order to improve working conditions, staffing, patient care, and wages at their facilities, are now the first unionized dialysis clinic workers in California.
“I’ve been working at Fresenius for almost 15 years, and my wages are still far below the RN standard because most years my raises are barely over 1%,” said Joel De Guzman, a dialysis nurse at Fresenius Brentwood Park. “I joined with my co-workers to form a union to win respect, dignity, and better patient care.”
The workers at Fresenius Medical Care who voted to join the union are part of a surge in dialysis workers organizing to form a union. Workers at six other dialysis clinics are already in the process of voting on whether on not to join the union, and others are preparing to set an election date or filing for their own elections.
“ Sometimes, I feel like quitting because we’re always short-staffed. But, I stay because I love my patients,” said Carla Amezcua, a patient care technician at Fresenius. “With a union, we’ll have a say over safe staffing and be able to provide better care for our patients.”
Dialysis workers in California have been trying to unite in SEIU-UHW for six years in order to improve working conditions and strengthen worker and patient protections at their clinics. The workers who voted to unionize include registered nurses, patient care technicians, certified clinical hemodialysis technicians, administrative assistants, and unit secretaries.
SEIU-UHW members and non-union dialysis workers have been working to reform the massively profitable dialysis industry and improve conditions inside clinics. In 2021, Fresenius made $1.3 billion in profits and paid its CEO nearly $6 million in compensation.
The surge in dialysis workers filing for elections and voting to join a union is part of a national wave of unionization across the country in sectors as diverse as Amazon warehouses and Starbucks, where working-class people are taking a stand against exorbitant corporate profits and executive pay.
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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