Press Release

June 20, 2022

Coalition of dialysis patients, doctors and providers condemns yet another reckless and dangerous ballot measure by United Healthcare Workers West (UHW)

For immediate release: June 20, 2022

Contact: Kathy Fairbanks (916) 813-1010

Secretary of State announced today that UHW’s third ballot measure harming dialysis patients is now eligible for Nov 2022 ballot.

Sacramento –coalition representing dialysis patients, doctors, nurses, social justice advocates and dialysis providers today condemned SEIU-UHW for targeting dialysis patients with yet another dangerous ballot measure. The group vowed to defeat it at the ballot in November. This is the third ballot measure in as many elections bankrolled by UHW and is nearly identical to Proposition 23, which voters rejected by more than 20 points in November 2020.

“This measure is a despicable threat to patients and an abuse of the electoral system,” said DeWayne Cox, dialysis patient from Van Nuys. “This union leadership has no regard for dialysis patients like me who are already struggling to get the treatments we need to stay alive. They should be ashamed.”

The coalition’s criticism comes as the California Secretary of State posted signature counts this evening showing that the UHW ballot measure had collected enough valid signatures to be eligible for the November 2022 ballot.

“There is no good reason that dialysis patients should be put in harm’s way year after year by this special interest union,” said Oakland nephrologist Bryan Wong, MD, East Bay Nephrology Medical Group. “UHW members clearly don’t care about dialysis patients, or they wouldn’t repeatedly pursue ballot measures that put them in danger.”

This is the third ballot initiative SEIU-UHW has filed targeting dialysis patients in as many statewide elections. Voters resoundingly rejected UHW’s last two failed ballot measures – Prop 8 in 2018 by 60%, and Prop 23 in 2020 by 63%.

More than 80,000 Californians with failed kidneys need dialysis treatments three days a week to stay alive. Missing even a single dialysis treatment increases patients’ risk of death by 30%. 

Care in California dialysis clinics consistently beats the national average. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, on average, California outperforms the rest of the nation on quality of care and patient satisfaction.

UHW’s 2022 ballot measure would force every dialysis clinic in California to hire new administrators to be on-site at all times – even though they would not provide direct patient care. The independent, non-partisan California Legislative Analyst’s Office said this provision alone would cost each individual dialysis clinic in the state, “several hundred thousand dollars annually on average.” (page 4)

This unnecessary requirement would cost hundreds of millions statewide, forcing dialysis clinics in California to cut back services or shut down, making it harder for patients to access their treatments — putting their lives at risk.  

This November 2022 initiative shakedown is just a continuation of UHW’s broader corporate union organizing campaign against health care providers. Since 2012, SEIU-UHW has wasted $82 million of its members’ dues money on 60 ballot initiatives across the country either directly or through its 501c4. In California alone, UHW has filed 23 state and local initiatives at a cost of $58 million or about $600 per member in wasted dues money.

The broad coalition of dialysis patients, doctors, social justice advocates and dialysis providers will wage a campaign to educate the voters to reject this dangerous measure.

Paid for by No on 29: Stop Yet Another Dangerous Dialysis Proposition, sponsored by patients, doctors, nurses and dialysis providers. Committee major funding from DaVita, Fresenius Medical Care, and U.S. Renal Care.

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