Press Releases

Non-Union Mayo Food Service Workers Employed by Sodexo Vote Overwhelmingly to Join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota

Rochester, Minn — A group of Mayo food service workers currently employed by Sodexo voted overwhelming today to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. The vote was conduced over three shifts starting at 6 am and running until 4:30 pm. 89% of the votes were to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, with 74% of eligible voters taking part in the election.

Mayo_Clinic2_rsWes Keck, a Sodexo employee who has worked at Mayo doing food service for 17 years, shared why workers are so excited to have won a voice on the job by joining SEIU.

“It is clear from the overwhelming ‘yes’ vote that we are ready to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and have a unified voice in the fight to make sure food service jobs stay good jobs,” said Keck. “Many of us have dedicated 10, 15, 20 years to this job, and with all of the changes being proposed by Mayo, it will be good to know that we will now have a seat at the table moving forward. We are excited to be joining together with hundreds of other food service workers who have been standing up and fighting back for what is best for food service workers, our families, and our community.”

Barb Andrew, a 15-year Sodexo employee at Mayo, echoed Keck’s comments as the Sodexo food service workers celebrated their ‘yes’ vote.

“It was hard when Mayo rolled out their plan and we didn’t feel like we had a voice, but we’ve changed that today. We plan on continuing our work to hold Mayo to their promises that our jobs, which are critically important to patients, guests and community members, continue to be jobs that reflect the value and dedication we bring to our work,” said Andrew. “We know it won’t be easy, but we now have a shared voice so that we can fight to make sure the hundreds of families facing the continued fallout from Mayo’s decision can move forward, not backward.”

Jennifer Norgran, a Mayo food service worker and current member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, shared excitement that the power of food service workers in Rochester will be growing following the vote.

“The SEIU food service workers at the Mayo have been fighting to keep good jobs in Rochester and we are excited to have the Sodexo food service workers join us as members of SEIU so that we can all be stronger together as we move forward!”

The vote comes as Mayo is moving forward with their controversial plan to outsource 700 food service workers in Minnesota to Morrison, a move that has been met with fierce resistance from workers, Rochester community members and elected officials.

First bargaining dates between Sodexo and SEIU will be scheduled in the coming weeks.

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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.

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Mayo Clinic Health System-Albert Lea Hospital Workers In Washington D.C. For Hearing in Labor Dispute With Mayo

Albert Lea, MN – Two Mayo Clinic Health System Albert Lea maintenance workers are in Washington D.C. today for oral argument with the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board. The Union will be sharing details about the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges SEIU Healthcare Minnesota filed against Mayo Clinic around their lack of bargaining with the maintenance workers. The maintenance workers and community supporters have held two informational pickets outside of the hospital as part of the dispute.

The group has been working without a contract for over a year as Mayo continues to demand language that would undermine the workers and move the hospital and community in the wrong direction. The unusual situation of the ULP charges being heard directly by the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board is the first time this has happened in the history of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.

“The fact that the General Counsel of National Labor Relations Board is directly hearing this case is historic for our Union, but not in a good way. This is the first time a ULP brought by SEIU Healthcare MN has been in this situation, which shows how unreasonable Mayo are being in refusing even basic negotiations with a group of workers with decades of experience,” said SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley. “Because Mayo continues to refuse to bargain in good faith with these dedicated employees, we find ourselves having to travel to Washington D. C. for a hearing to address Mayo’s intransigence.”

The two Albert Lea Hospital maintenance workers, Nate Johnson and Bill Johnson, will fly out Thursday evening to be part of the hearing on Friday.

“I wish Mayo would just sit down and bargain fairly with us, but they have so far simply said it is their way or the highway. I’ve worked at Mayo for 33 years, and many of my co-workers have decades of dedication in making sure the Albert Lea Hospital stays up and running, but Mayo continues to act as if all that matters is having more control and finding ways to make more money,” said Bill Johnson. “I look forward to the board hearing what is happening, and hope that we can get back to what really matters: bargaining a contract that is good for everyone involved so we can continue our work to make the hospital the best it can be for the Albert Lea community.”

The National Labor Relations Board General Counsel will also hear and consider argument from Mayo. There is no timeline for a ruling.

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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.

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SEIU Expresses Anger and Disbelief as Mayo Now Says They Will Only Offer Food Service Jobs at Current Wages If Union Withdraws ‘Conflict of Interest’ Ethics Complaint

Rochester, Minn — Reversing months of public comments, Mayo Clinic informed SEIU Healthcare Minnesota today that they are making employment at current wages with Morrison for union food service workers contingent on the Union dropping their grievance concerning a possible conflict of interest between a Mayo executive and a Morrison employee. Mayo has refused to even process the grievance that the Union filed in July, something they are required to do by contract. This refusal to follow the contract resulted in the Union filing an Unfair Labor Practice charge last week with the National Labor Relations Board.

Mayo has refused to publicly release any information about the role of Carol Gorman, the executive who was in charge of the department and who was one of the people at the center of the decision. The Union contends that there may have been a conflict of interest with Gorman due to a long standing personal relationship with a Morrison executive. After the decision was made, Gorman was moved out of her role. The Union fully intends to continue the push for transparency to find out the truth about this decision that is upending the lives of hundreds of Rochester families. While still refusing to release this important information publicly, Mayo is now demanding the union withdraw the ethics complaint without any further hearings in order for them to deliver on a basic promise they have been making publicly for months to the 700 food service workers they are planning to outsource.

SEIU President Jamie Gulley shared the anger and disbelief that Mayo is using hardworking food service workers, who bring over 5,000 years of experience to their jobs, as a negotiating chip to keep possible ethic violations under wraps.

“Just when we think that Mayo can’t disrespect the hundreds of workers and their families any more than they already have, they pull this incredibly offensive stunt and go back on months of public statements. We are trying to move forward to find a solution that maintains the high standards for food service at Mayo, but it is hard to do when Mayo seems more concerned with covering their tracks and keeping information from the public that may shine a negative light on how this controversial decision came to be,” said Gulley. “We are unwavering in our belief that Mayo can keep their word and be held to basic standards on both worker fairness and public transparency. Mayo can, and must, ensure food service workers and the patients are treated with the fairness and dignity they deserve. There is no reason this should come at the cost of Mayo sharing the truth about what happened in this process as they are required to do through our contract. The fact that they are pitting transparency versus promises they made to treat their dedicated workers fairly as an either/or is a shame and will not be tolerated.”

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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.

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SEIU Expresses Disappointment As Mayo Informs Union of Intention to Sign Outsourcing Agreement Next Week

Union Brings Specific Proposal to Bargaining Table Around Protections for Workers and Community to Hold Mayo Accountable to Promises

Rochester, Minn — Mayo Clinic informed SEIU Healthcare Minnesota on Wednesday that they had chosen to ignore the community outcry in opposition to their controversial plan to outsource 700 food service workers. SEIU Healthcare Minnesota expressed disappointment at this misguided decision while bringing forward a proposal at the bargaining table that works to hold Mayo accountable to the promises they have made. The principles, listed below, would ensure protections for the workers, their families and the Rochester community who depend on the talents of food service workers at Mayo.

mayo picket_rsStressing that they still strongly disagree with the proposal and believe what is best for everyone involved would be to keep the dedicated workers as part of the Mayo family, SEIU President Jamie Gulley explained why it was deemed essential to do “harm reduction” so that the plan, which has already produced unintended consequences, won’t further hurt workers or the employees, guests and patients who rely on the outstanding work that is done by the food service workers.

“This is a sad day for Rochester. It seems clear to everyone except Mayo executives that this plan is wrong, but they have refused to even have a basic dialogue. So we are going to continue doing what we have done all along: fight to ensure that these remain good jobs so that Mayo patients and employees continue to receive the excellent food service they deserve,” said Gulley.

“The principles we brought today are less ‘demands’ and more basic standards to hold Mayo to their word that these will continue to be good jobs that would allow for talented, hard working and dedicated employees to raise their families and do the outstanding work that they have proven capable of doing over the last few decades,” Gulley continued. “We will work at the bargaining table to hold Mayo accountable to their public statements, and while we acknowledge that this misguided decision is moving forward, we refuse to stop fighting for what is best for workers, patients and all of Rochester and Southern Minnesota.”

The principles brought forward by SEIU include:

  1. Any agreement with a sub-contractor in the dietary department must include: recognition of the Union, adoption of the Union contract and employment guarantees for all employees at the same or higher rate of pay and FTE.
  2. Dietary jobs at Mayo are good jobs and should remain good jobs into the future.
  3. Mayo’s contract with Morrison (or any future sub-contractor) should include the same or higher operating budget per FTE as is currently in place. This will allow employees to negotiate comparable replacement benefits to support ourselves and our families into the future.
  4. Promotional opportunities within Mayo should be continued for sub-contracted employees, including new hires, on the same seniority basis, that has been in place for generations.
  5. A fair severance should be provided to employees who transition to Morrison based on their years of service to Mayo.
  6. Any changes in sub-contractor in the future, or return of work in-house at Mayo, should include an agreement that incumbent employees are retained by the successor employer.
  7. Mayo employee benefits like parking rights, access to Dan Abraham center and volunteer opportunities should be extended to all sub-contracted workers.
  8. Any agreement should include complete and accurate reporting of sub-contracted worker wages to Medicare to prevent price increases on the seniors in our community.

The two sides are scheduled to meet again next Wednesday and Thursday.

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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.

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As Care Crisis Continues, Minnesota Home Care Workers Fight to Improve Lives of Seniors and People with Disabilities

Union home care workers speak out before negotiations begin for 2nd contract with the state

Saint Paul – Home care workers and clients came together Wednesday at the Capitol to highlight the care crisis facing seniors and people with disabilities in Minnesota. The event came just days before home care workers with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota begin their contract negotiations with the State of Minnesota, with a goal of making real strides in addressing the growing crisis. (more…)

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Amidst Frustration Over Mayo’s Controversial Outsourcing Plan, Non-Union Food Service Workers at Mayo Announce They Will File for Election to Join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota

At 2nd informational picket, group announce that majority have signed cards and will trigger Union election

Rochester, Minn — Non-union food service workers announced that a majority of a group of 126 non-union Mayo food service workers in the Rochester area have signed cards, a move that will trigger an election for the group to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. The move was announced at a second picket where Mayo food service workers, community supporters and elected officials came together to call on Mayo to revisit their decision to outsource food service to Morrison.

mayo picket 2_rsWes Keck, a food service worker at Mayo for 17 years and one of the card signers, shared why the group is in favor of holding the election and joining SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.

“I’ve been a worker at the Harwick kitchen at Mayo for 17 years. In light of everything that has been going on with the food service workers at Mayo, my co-workers and I at Sodexo have decided to hold a vote to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota,” Keck said. “We have a strong majority on board and we are going to file for a union election next week. Mayo is a big part of our community and we want to ensure that the patients, the hospital employees, and the community are able to be involved in the decision making processes of this hospital. We stand with the Mayo food service workers and we know they will stand with us going forward because we are stronger together!”

The announcement was met with excitement at the picket, which included Mayo food service workers, community supporters and elected officials. Joining the food service workers and speaking out in support of Mayo revisiting the decision to outsource the food service workers to Morrison were politicians including Minority Leader Rep. Paul Thissen, Deputy Minority Leader Rep. Erin Murphy, Rochester Rep. Tina Liebling and others.

There are two more bargaining sessions scheduled for next week on Monday the 19th and Tuesday the 20th.

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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.

 

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Security Officers at United States Office of the Inspector General Hold One-Day ULP Strike

Eagan, Minn – The security officers who are contracted to protect the United States Office of the Inspector General in Eagan are holding a one-day Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike today. To maintain profits, the security agency that employs the dozen workers at this high-security facility made a change in compensation that would be the equivalent of a $4.27 per hour pay cut. This move has meant dramatic cuts for the officers charged with protecting this vital building. (more…)

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SEIU Statement on Minnesota Supreme Court Ruling on $15 Charter Amendment

Minneapolis, Minn — In response to the news that the charter amendment for $15 minimum wage in Minneapolis will not be on the ballot in November, the SEIU Minnesota State Council, representing 8000 people living or working in Minneapolis, released the following statement: (more…)

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Hundreds of Mayo Food Service Workers and Supporters Hold Informational Picket at St. Marys Hospital

Rochester, Minn — Hundreds of Mayo food service workers and community supporters, including multiple elected officials, held an informational picket today in front of St. Marys Hospital in Rochester. The event comes as Mayo continues to feel heat from workers, the community and elected officials over their controversial proposal to outsource their food service workers to a multi-national corporation.

mayo picket 2_rsTheresa Burke, a food service worker for 34 years, shared why she was attending the informational picket.

“We do an important job at a very high level to make sure our patients have a good experience. If our jobs are sub-contracted, we are concerned that it will change everything,” said Burke. “We also are concerned about our families. If our health insurance doubles, will I be able to take care of health issues that come up? We are out here today because we believe the best thing for everyone would be Mayo revisiting this decision.”

The tentative agreement between Mayo and Morrison, which has not been finalized, has been met with anger and frustration from workers across Mayo and community members across Southern Minnesota. Their plan to push hundreds of loyal Mayo employees – and Rochester taxpayers — out of the company comes shortly after Mayo lobbied the state for hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to build the Destination Medical Center (DMC), in no small part by claiming it will bring good jobs to the area.

Earlier this month a delegation of food service workers delivered a petition signed by over 1,200 Mayo employees to Mayo HR, and last week an ad ran in the Rochester Post-Bulletin showcasing the growing support of Minnesota elected officials who are calling on Mayo to revisit their outsourcing decision.

On Monday, during the first bargaining session between the Union and Mayo, SEIU offered a major compromise to solve this crisis. SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley shared why this was a great solution to ending this crisis.

“It is clear from the overwhelming show of support today that food service workers and supporters are ready to continue our fight for what is right. We believe that our offer is a ‘win-win’ for both Mayo and the food service workers who are concerned about what outsourcing their jobs would mean for their families and communities,” said Gulley. “We hope that Mayo hears the voices of their dedicated employees and considers our offer to put this controversial decision behind us and move forward in our shared goal of making Mayo as great as possible for patients, workers and the whole Rochester community.”

Hundreds of workers throughout the Mayo system have been wearing “No Subcontracting” buttons at work highlighting that the food service workers who Mayo is trying to kick off their payroll have over 5,000 years of experience in food service at Mayo, with many bringing decades of food safety expertise to their jobs. This longevity, which most doubt would be possible if the lower pay and worse health benefits of a subcontractor were brought into the hospital, helps to ensure the health and safety of patients across the Mayo system.

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Airport Workers Vote Overwhelmingly to Authorize ULP Strike at MSP

No date set, but workers demand action as we head towards busy Labor Day weekend

Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport –  After countless setbacks because of employer recalcitrance, airport workers fighting for $15 and the right to form a union at MSP voted overwhelmingly to authorize an Unfair Labor Practice strike if no progress is made with their employer to end retaliation and win better work conditions and the right to form a union.  Airport workers announced the results at a meeting of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), and held signs saying they were “Ready to Strike.” No date was set for a possible strike, but workers showed that they are tired of retaliation and low pay, and hope to see movement by the busy Labor Day weekend. (more…)

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