Albert Lea hospital workers who were locked out by Mayo over Christmas are back to the bargaining table with Mayo executives today. The previously scheduled bargaining session follows a one-day Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike by SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members and a subsequent lockout of the workers by Mayo over Christmas.
"Today we will see if Mayo actually wants to negotiate with us or if they just said that last week to make themselves look better when they locked us all out over Christmas," Sheri Wichmann, who has worked in Sterile processing for 18 years. Mayo had indicated new interest in negotiating following the strike and lockout. ”Over the last year we've made countless offers and been willing to give and give, but it is never enough for Mayo,” she added. “We hope Mayo will take this option and stop their attacks on good jobs and quality rural healthcare."
After over a year of stalled conversations and no bargaining sessions, the 79 members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota who work as certified nursing assistants (CNAs), housekeepers, sterile processing and in utilities and materials management voted 92% to 8% to authorize a one-day ULP strike in their fight for good jobs and quality rural healthcare. According to the union, all 92% of the workers who voted to strike stayed away from work on December 19th. After their one-day ULP strike, the workers attempted to return to work on Tuesday, Dec. 20th, but were blocked by Mayo management and security doing so. The workers returned to their jobs on Tuesday, December 26th once Mayo's Christmas lockout ended.