Coming together to fight back following controversial Mayo decision to outsource hundreds of employees, food service workers see big gains in pay, benefits and security for families in first contract
Rochester, Minn— Over 500 Mayo food service workers who were outsourced last year in a controversial decision by Mayo reached a tentative agreement with their new employer Morrison Healthcare. Food service workers from across multiple Mayo facilities in Rochester, Albert Lea, Fairbault, Fairmont and Mankato were represented on the bargaining team that has worked for months leading up to the July 1st date that will see the final food service workers officially transition to Morrison. In a unique arrangement, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota food service workers joined with food service workers represented by the AFSCME Council 65 and Teamsters Local 120 unions to bargain the first contract with Morrison. Highlights from the tentative agreement are at the bottom of the release.
Bargaining team members from across facilities and unions expressed excitement about the gains they were able to achieve in bargaining, which began in March and wrapped up Tuesday evening. Goals going into the bargaining focused on protecting worker standards, namely winning union insurance, a union retirement plan and preserving and advancing wage rates. By working together and uniting the unions together under common demands, food service workers won all three and the workers who joined SEIU Healthcare Minnesota from being previously unorganized won huge wage increases to meet the standards of workers who were already union. Food service workers fought every step of the way to ensure these jobs remained good jobs that would support families in our community while ensuring that patients and visitors to Mayo facilities were able to get the service that they deserved. The tentative agreement will go to the facilities for a vote over the next week, and if approved the contract would last for five years.
Some of the largest gains were made by food service workers who were previously employed by Sodexo, a group that voted overwhelmingly to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota following the uproar around Mayo’s plan for food service workers. Barb Andrew, who has worked in catering for Mayo in Rochester for 16 years, shared the excitement of the former Sodexo workers who joined SEIU Healthcare last year in a vote following the news of outsourcing.
“I was already so happy when we voted late last year to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, but I am even more excited following the huge gains in this contract for those of us who were formerly Sodexo workers. Joining the union was the best decision we made,” said Andrew. “The security of this contract for our families means our gains can’t be taken away, which is a weight off our shoulders. Getting back holiday pay, vacation time, improving retirement protections and other increases means so much to us. Winning strong healthcare also will help me sleep better at night, especially with all the chaos in the news about changes in the healthcare industry at the national level. When all the changes at Mayo came last year we were scared, confused and nervous. What we have achieved since voting to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota is night and day.”
Other members of the bargaining team talked about how this tentative agreement, coming on the heels of such a tumultuous year for food service workers, was such an amazing victory for working families across southern Minnesota. Julie Larson has worked at Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont for over two decades and is a member of Teamsters Local 120, shared her impression on the tentative agreement.
“I’m very ecstatic about the agreement that we won. I’ve been with Mayo for two decades, so seeing our benefits cut in half and our insurance skyrocket after the change, it was very scary and devastating. We live in a rural area, so this job is so important to us and our community. This contract is the best we’ve had in my 25 years and I am so proud of what we won,” said Larson. “Knowing that we have a five-year contract means we have stability that means so much to our families. After all of the stress of the last year, it was nice to find out how good of a negotiating partner Morrison turned out to be.”
Another bargaining team member, Leslie Kaup, who has worked at Mayo in Albert Lea for 3 years, shared her excitement over the gains won in the new contract.
“When they first announced this decision a year ago we were all devastated, but I am so pleased with how things have turned out. When the change first happened, we didn’t know what the future would hold. I had just bought a house and a farm and worried about my future. I didn’t know if we’d have jobs and benefits. By coming together and fighting for what we deserve, we won a contract with amazing gains that solidifies our future and gives us real security. This means so much to us,” said Kaup. “The security is so important to Albert Lea and communities across southern Minnesota, and I’m glad that we didn’t let the way Mayo treated us stop us from fighting for what we deserve. Because we stuck together, and worked with other unions facing the same situation, we won a fair contract for hundreds of food service workers as we become Morrison employees.”
Following negotiations, representatives from the employers side praised the process that led to the agreement.
“We are glad to have reached a tentative agreement with our represented food service workers in various Mayo Health locations who will now have the opportunity to approve our agreement. We value the work done by our food service workers across Southern Minnesota and are proud to have reached this five-year agreement,” said Henry Dresser, a representative with Compass Group. “We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with all three unions and building on the relationships we have started with these negotiations.”
The full tentative agreement will be shared with members of the unions in the coming days and voted on starting next week. Final results of the ratification vote are expect July 10th.
Some of the highlights of the contract include:
- Initial wage increases between 2.5% and 42%
- 5 year contract duration with 2.5 % wage increases each year for existing employees and 2% increases to the start rates each year
- Increased PTO and Holiday Pay
- Full Union Health Insurance for both part-time and full-time members and improved dental coverage
- Defined contribution 401K, $.50 per hour worked paid by the Employer
- Overtime pay after 8 hours, requirements for defined shift times, and weekend shift differentials
- Increased life insurance, Short Term Disability options and improved Bereavement Leave
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota unites more than 35,000 healthcare and long-term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care throughout the state of Minnesota.