COMMERCE, CA — As California draws closer to passing legislation that would clamp down on dialysis centers across the state, a Filipino technician who was terminated says he was singled out by one of the dialysis companies for being vocal.
42-year-old Emerson Padua has spent half his life in the dialysis industry, working 21 years for both Da Vita and Fresinius, the two biggest dialysis companies.
California has been making moves to tighten regulations on the industry where workers say they are often faced with challenges.
“There’s been times where we have 2 technicians and 1 nurse to 21 patients. It’s not safe,” said Padua. “That’s why we’re pushing for this Senate Bill 349 to pass. It’s going to be safe for our workers for our patients.”
About two weeks ago, Padua spoke at this rally in Sacramento, lobbying for the passage of the SB-349, the Dialysis Patient Safety Act.
In less than 24 hours, Da Vita fired him, and several others.
“Shocked but they have been targeting me,” he said. “This is not the first time they’ve done this, they’ve been targeting me. I’ve gone through disciplinary actions since my participation in organizing and forming [a union with] my colleagues.”
With the help of the Service Employees International Union, Padua filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.
Da Vita has denied the claims that the decision to fire anyone was based on their participation on SB-349.
They say that these former teammates were terminated because their actions threatened patient safety.
Adding that the company recognizes and respects each teammate’s legal right to support or not support the union or the legislation.
Despite being out of one job, the father of two, who is expecting a third child, still has his other job at the clinic.
And as he waits for the results of the NLRB, he says he won’t stop fighting for the Dialysis Patient Safety Act.