Coming on the heels of a one-day strike over unfair labor practices, Worker’s United Local 150 reached a tentative agreement with management from Health Systems Cooperative Laundries in the early morning hours Tuesday.
The tentative agreement restores the workers’ sick-day benefits previously discontinued by the company and demonstrates a major win for the workers who were eager to get back to work. On Tuesday, workers were back on the job at the commercial laundry facility, providing linens to hospitals in the Twin Cities.
“We are elated that workers and management were able to come to this tentative agreement,” said Julie Boots, Area Director for Worker’s United. “Our members work hard to ensure that patients at local hospitals have clean, sanitary linens. You can’t have people responsible for hospital linens coming to work sick, just because they can’t take a sick day.”
Worker’s United Local 150 walked off the job around 1 p.m. Monday, after rejecting the company’s “last, best and final offer” on July 26. Ongoing negotiations had failed to resolve the dispute as of Monday afternoon, sending the workers to the picket line. In addition to the discontinuation of sick-day benefits, the laundry’s original proposal would strip workers of important leave of absence language, limit bargaining rights over mid-term changes imposed by the employer and give the workers no protection should the laundry be sold to a new owner.
“We have never been on strike before, and we hope we never have to again,” said Anita Beachler, a member of the union’s negotiating committee, who has worked in the laundry for over 30 years. “I take pride in my work, knowing I contribute to the medical facilities and systems that keep my family, friends and neighbors healthy. We are relieved to see the laundry realize that we deserve sick-day benefits and workplace protections into the future.”
In addition to the restoration of sick-day benefits, the new contract:
– Includes raises in each year of the contract
– Restores leave of absence language
– Retains workers’ pensions
“We are proud that our members were able to work together with the hospitals, clinics, doctors and Board of Directors that oversees the operation of the laundry to find a peaceful solution that benefits all involved,” continued Beachler. “We thank everyone for their support, including other labor unions who stood on the picket lines with us in solidarity. Together, we can move workers forward and continue providing the type of quality work our community counts on.”
Worker’s United 150 will vote Wednesday to ratify the tentative agreement.