On December 7th, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota filed a 10-day notice of intent to hold an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike at Mayo Albert Lea Hospital. The 1-day strike is set for Tuesday, December 19th.
The notice came as skilled maintenance workers who have been without a contract for over two years voted to join with certified nursing assistants (CNAs), housekeepers, sterile processing and other service workers who had authorized a 1-day strike in late November.
Nate Johnson is an 18-year plant operation engineer at Mayo with the skilled maintenance unit that voted to join the 1-day ULP strike. "I voted to strike because we want real job security to be able to provide for our families,” said Johnson. “Job security means loyalty both ways, and right now we aren't seeing loyalty back from Mayo.”
“They are demanding the ability to subcontract away our jobs,” Johnson continued. “We have seen that Mayo will subcontract an entire department by what they did to the food service workers last year. The rules changed when we saw that happen.”
“What frustrates me,” said Mayo housekeeper Marlene Baseman, “is that at the bargaining table we have been willing to give and give and give, and when it is Mayo’s turn to compromise, they haven't given an inch.” Baseman has been a Mayo housekeeper for over 27 years.
“It seems like they have no regards for people who aren’t executives. We feel like we are disposable to them,” Baseman continued. “We have to stand up for ourselves and our community.”
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley said, "Mayo has shown no intention of meeting halfway on anything. Mayo's 'our way or the highway' attitude have made it clear that working families have little choice but to stand up and fight back."
According to SEIU, Mayo sent an email to staff threatening to lock out workers for seven days if they held the one-day strike they had authorized. A ULP strike is a legally protected action.
"It is very troubling that Mayo decided to causally threaten employees with a Christmas lockout, “continued Gulley. “I know working people and the whole Albert Lea community won't be intimidated by threats from Mayo executives. Families in Albert Lea are simply fighting for good jobs and a commitment from Mayo to show that they value their community,”