The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), announced that workers at the German company Fresenius’ kidney dialysis facility in Mobile, Alabama, voted unanimously to ratify their first contract. The negotiations committee worked tirelessly to secure a strong contract that ensures workers’ concerns will be heard. This contract will protect the hard-working patient care technicians that provide critical care to patients in Mobile.
This contract sets a scheduling protection precedent, which will bring stability to both workers and patients’ lives. It should set a standard not just for the global employer, but the industry. The union is also currently in negotiations for a contract at another Fresenius facility in Alabama and is confident that the strong provisions secured here will be part of that contract as well.
The announcement comes among a string of organizing and contract wins in the South for the RWDSU. The union continues to win organizing campaigns in Right-to-Work states, bringing a union voice for workers in previously vehemently anti-union workplaces.
“This is a great first step for Fresenius and their workers in the United States and will improve the quality of jobs and the quality of care in these facilitiy, and it shows that Fresenius can do better.,” said UNI Deputy General Secretary Alke Boessiger. “However, there is still a long way to go on the path to ensuring that their workers’ rights are respected all over the world. We call on the company to allow workers to freely organize—without fear and intimidation—in all of its facilities in the United States and across the world.We urge the company to take the opportunity to capitalize on this moment and engage with UNI and PSI and negotiate a global framework agreement.”
“The healthcare workers at Fresenius had one goal in seeking a union contract, care for their patients – and they won,” said Randy Hadley, President of the Mid-South Council of the RWDSU. “This first contract will bring so much not only to our members, but to their patients at Fresenius in Mobile. Together I know we can continue to spread that to so many other facilities where critical care like this is given to so many suffering from kidney disease and health issues.
The contract will be in effect for four years and includes critical provisions such as:
- Up to 6% wage increases in the first year of the contract, as well as ratification bonuses.
- Guaranteed union access to the facility to ensure the collective bargaining agreement is being properly adhered to.
- Guaranteed scheduling protections, which will bring stability to both workers and patients lives.