Mayo Albert Lea service workers who are members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a one-day strike if Mayo continues to refuse to bargain in good faith, the union said.
The group, which includes 79 members who work as certified nursing assistants housekeepers, sterile processing and in utilities and materials management, provide essential services to community members who utilize the hospital. Over 92 percent of those voting approved the strike authorization, meaning a strike could be called at any point going forward with a 10-day notice. No strike date was set at the vote.
“Currently Mayo is demanding a race-to-the-bottom clause that would allow them to take benefits away from employees at any time, regardless of the contract, something that is a non-starter for union workers,” the union said. At the same time, 13 Mayo executives make more than $1 million per year.
“It used to feel like the focus was about our patients and community, and not just about money, but over the last few years that has changed,” said Heather Olson, who has worked for 12 years as a housekeeper at Mayo. “I used to be proud to tell people where I work, and would never have imagined voting for a strike, but for me, I voted yes to strike because it feels as if there is no other option.”
Justin Yost, who has worked at Mayo for 14 years in the utilities department, echoed the sentiment.
“I voted yes to authorize the strike because when you work for a big healthcare corporation, you shouldn’t have to worry about not having or being able to afford healthcare,” he said. “That could be a reality if Mayo refuses to budge on their proposal to be able to take away healthcare from employees at any time. I hope they will come back to the table and bargain in good faith.”
 
 

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