1199SEIU members at Fresenius Dialysis Centers throughout Brooklyn and the Bronx have ratified a contract with significant improvements to wages, conditions and benefits.

The agreement comes after a one-day strike in June where 1199 members came together with their nurse colleagues, represented by NYSNA. Both unions stood together in strength and unity to attend each other’s negotiating sessions, which was instrumental in a fair contract being agreed.

Long hours of negotiations took place to produce a four-year agreement which lines up with the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes, so that Fresenius members can remain in line with the industry.

Fresenius is a multi-national corporation based in Germany and the largest dialysis corporation nationwide. The company made annual profits of $1 billion last year.

The company initially refused to bargain in good faith and wanted to pull out of the benefit funds. But the solidarity of members in both 1199 and NYSNA brought them back to the table. Now members have guaranteed benefits, including medical, pension, job security, training, and child care until September 2021.

For the first time ever Fresenius workers will have a complete contract book, setting for all members’ rights and the Employer’s obligations.

Members will receive a ratification bonus of one week’s pay (about 2% of annual salary), in the first pay period after ratification. At the beginning of October another 2.75% increase will be paid. This will be followed by another 2.75% increase in 2018.

The committee also negotiated contractual minimum rates by classification, for the first time ever.

Differences in title and history had created an unfair disparity in pay among Equipment Techs/Biomed Techs. Going forward, all workers in the classification will have the title Biomed Tech. There will be raises for Biomed Techs earning less than $21/hr.

All members hired before 2007 will have protected status and cannot be laid off in the event of closures. As part of the Job Security Fund all members receive supplemental benefits, health coverage continuation, training, placement opportunities.

Dietitians and Social Workers have not all been in the union. Going forward, all dietitians and social workers will be covered by the contract.