The general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board has determined that unfair labor practice charges filed against Mayo Clinic have merit, supporting maintenance workers at the Albert Lea Medical Center who have been seeking a contract for more than 18 months.
On Monday, the NLRB General Counsel found that Mayo has "failed to bargain in good faith" with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota concerning the skilled maintenance employees working at the hospital, which is part of the Mayo Clinic Health System.
This nationally significant determination comes after two Mayo maintenance workers from the hospital went to Washington, D.C., to attend oral arguments before the General Counsel regarding the charges against Mayo.
The maintenance workers and community supporters also have held two informational pickets outside of the hospital to inform the public about Mayo’s conduct. The affected workers have been working without a contract for over 18 months as management continues to engage in the delaying tactics that triggered the charges.
"While I'm glad the NLRB General Counsel found in our favor, I really just wish Mayo would sit down and bargain fairly with us,” said maintenance worker Bill Johnson, a 33-year employee at the hospital who flew to Washington for the hearing.
“Like many of my co-workers, I've worked for Mayo for over three decades, and I'm proud of our work making sure the Albert Lea Hospital stays up and running. We aren't asking for executive salaries, just respect for our work and our dedication to the hospital after all these years.”
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley observed that this was the first oral argument before the NLRB General Counsel that SEIU Healthcare Minnesota has had and that the clear determination by the General Counsel highlights how far Mayo has strayed from its stated mission.
"This determination by the NLRB General Counsel confirms how unreasonable Mayo is being by refusing to conduct even basic negotiations with a group of workers that have decades of experience keeping the hospital in Albert Lea running," said Gulley. "Mayo needs to be a hospital system that works for everyone, not just those at the top … It is time for Mayo to treat the workers who make their hospitals great with the respect they deserve and get back to the bargaining table."
Future dates for bargaining between the Albert Lea maintenance workers and Mayo have not yet been scheduled.
The determination by the NLRB General Counsel comes as another charge filed by SEIU Healthcare Minnesota against Mayo is still pending in relation to Mayo’s unilateral outsourcing of hundreds of food service worker jobs in Albert Lea, in Rochester and across Southern Minnesota.