OAKLAND, Calif. — Nearly 300 healthcare workers at 13 dialysis clinics across the state have filed for elections to join SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West to improve working conditions, staffing, patient care, and wages at their facilities.
“Working conditions are so tough that even basic patient care is a huge challenge,” said Eugene Dela Peña, a dialysis technician at a Fresenius clinic in San Francisco. “Our workloads keep increasing, staffing levels are too low, and we don’t feel valued. Because our wages are so low and have not kept up with inflation, we have a hard time retaining experienced staff and recruiting new staff.”
Eight of the 13 dialysis clinics where workers filed for union elections are owned by Fresenius Medical Care and five by Satellite Healthcare. In 2021, Fresenius made $1.3 billion in profits and paid its CEO nearly $6 million in compensation.
These 13 dialysis clinics include facilities in San Francisco, the East Bay area, San Diego County, the greater San Jose region, and Camarillo. The workers include Registered Nurses, Patient Care Technicians, Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technicians, Social Workers, Administrative Assistants, Unit Secretaries, Dieticians, and Biomedical Technicians.
These filings for union elections are part of a national wave of unionization across the country 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.
Dialysis is a life-saving treatment for 66,000 Californians with kidney failure. Dialysis workers have been working with SEIU-UHW members for six years to improve patient protections and to hold the industry accountable to workers and patients alike.
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.