Press Releases

SEIU Endorses Rep. Erin Murphy for Governor

St. Paul — The SEIU Minnesota State Council, which brings together over 50,000 working people across the state, announced today the endorsement of Rep. Erin Murphy for Governor of Minnesota. SEIU members are on the front lines of the fight for good union jobs, quality affordable healthcare, fully-funded public schools and communities that are safe and welcoming for all families.

Murphy_rsShowcasing her strong support across the state from working people, SEIU members from both the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota highlighted why they will be working this summer and fall to elect Erin Murphy as the next Governor of Minnesota, and the first woman to hold the office in the 160 years Minnesota has been a state.

Barbara Andrew of Rochester, a Morrison food service worker at the Mayo Clinic:

“I am very proud today to see my union vote to support Erin to be our next governor. Over the last couple years she has stood with us, as healthcare workers in southeastern Minnesota, every step of the way in seeking respect and justice. I have seen her actions, not just her words. She stood beside us — the food-service workers Mayo Clinic outsourced last year — in our struggle for union rights and a fair contract after we were outsourced. Then when our fellow SEIU members were locked out by the Mayo Clinic for a week in Albert Lea — the first lockout of healthcare workers in the history of Minnesota, and it happened over Christmas — Erin showed up on the picket line in Albert Lea every single day. She didn’t just come by one day for the TV cameras like other politicians. Everyone who walked that picket line, sometimes in the bitter cold and during a time we would normally all be spending with our loved ones for the holidays, knew that Erin was really with us. She cares about the workers of Minnesota, because she is one of us.”

Dawn Burnfin, a home care worker from Chisholm in Northern Minnesota and elected member of the SEIU Healthcare Minnesota executive board:

“There are several different reasons I’m proud my union has voted to support Erin Murphy for governor. To start, Erin is a healthcare worker. She understands the joys and difficulties that all healthcare workers face. Also, before she became a state legislator, Erin was a union leader with the Minnesota Nurses Association, so she truly understands what it takes to build a strong union, and how important it is that we defend union rights in our state. And while lots of politicians show up to support our members when we’re in a big fight, Erin shows up again and again — whether the TV cameras are going to be there or not — and she follows through on her word. People in communities all over this state know that, from towns like mine on the Range to Albert Lea to Montevideo, and all across the state: she has spent time with us, in our own homes and communities, and she is going to be a strong candidate able to win support this November in every corner of the state.”

Angela Negash, production worker in Minneapolis and member leader of CMRJB Workers United Local 150:

“Erin is a person who not only cares about her patients, but for all people. She is a leader who we know cares about Minnesota families. We connected over stories about caring for our parents and the power of having a strong union to support our families. She told me that the love for her mother helps drive her to make sure everyone has the care they need. I know she will be a great Governor and I’m excited for her to be the first female Governor.”

Maxine Maxon of St. Paul, a Nursing Assistant at Fairview-Riverside hospital in Minneapolis and elected Vice President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota:

“I support Erin because she is a true fighter. For civil rights, for healthcare, and for people in every part of the state of Minnesota. Erin knows and is committed to tackling the racial disparities that plague our state, in our schools and our communities. This fall we need a candidate for governor who can excite and inspire people to get out and vote, and that candidate is Erin Murphy. Finally, I am proud and excited about my union voting today to support Erin because after 160 years as a state, I think we are more than ready to have our first woman governor!”

In addition to SEIU members, community allies who have fought alongside SEIU in our work to create a state that works for all families, not just those at the top, shared why they are excited to help elect Rep. Murphy as the first woman Governor this November.

Nikki Villavicencio, a recipient of home care services from Maplewood and active leader for many years with her home care workers’ union:

“I support Erin Murphy to be Minnesota’s next Governor because she is a leader with integrity. Working with her at the Capitol on disability policies over the years, she has proven to be consistent and honest. Home care workers in our state — the people I rely on for support every day, who are chronically underpaid —  never would have had the legal right to form a union at all if it weren’t for the tireless work Erin did when she was the House Majority Leader, guiding her fellow legislators through all-night debates and votes that stretched over an entire week back in 2013. Along with dozens of home care workers and other people like me who receive home care services, I camped out in the House galleries that week, watching to make sure home care workers’ basic rights would be respected — that they would be Invisible No More. Erin made sure that they were.

“As a person who receives home care services, I know that Erin seeks out the experiences that people like me face every day and engages us as true partners when she’s making policy decisions,” continued Villavicencio. “I support Erin Murphy for Governor because she approaches issues like a mother, with care and compassion and also the experience and wisdom to lead this state forward!”

SEIU is the workers who provide care and support for your family in public schools, hospitals, higher education, nursing homes, schools, in your homes and the Twin Cities’ largest public and private buildings. The SEIU Minnesota State Council coordinates the electoral, legislative and outreach work of the SEIU Locals in Minnesota to increase the effectiveness of their collective bargaining and new member organizing campaigns. By building the political involvement of the over 50,000 SEIU members throughout the state, the State Council is working to improve the lives of all Minnesotans. The State Council’s board is comprised of elected leaders, members, and staff of the five SEIU Local Unions in Minnesota.

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The SEIU Minnesota State Council coordinates the electoral, legislative and outreach work of the SEIU Locals in Minnesota to increase the effectiveness of their efforts to organize unorganized workers in critical sectors of our economy, improve wages, hours and working conditions, and build political and legislative power for all workers and their families.  The State Council’s board is comprised of elected leaders, SEIU members and staff of the various SEIU Local Unions in Minnesota, and that board, with the active participation and input of our broader membership, determines our endorsements.

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SEIU File News Charges Against Mayo for Retaliation Against Albert Lea Workers Who Went on Strike

Albert Lea, Minn – SEIU filed new charges against Mayo Tuesday evening relating to retaliation against employees following the 1-day strike in Albert Lea and the subsequent Christmas Lockout. This comes just weeks after Region 18 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found merit to the Union’s charge that Mayo illegally locked out employees over Christmas. The new charges allege that Mayo took retaliatory action against Albert Lea employees who spoke out around the strike immediately after workers returned to work. It also highlights that Mayo has refused to engage with the union about ongoing concerns from longtime employees (via the legal grievance process) and is not allowing the union their legally-protected communications within the hospital. The formal language of the charges are at the bottom of the release.

rs_Albert_Lea_Mayo_HCMN_strikeDave Larson, who has worked in utilities at the hospital for 11 years, expressed the continued frustration that Mayo seems to be choosing every option except bargaining in good faith with their employees.

“SEIU members in Albert Lea want what every family in Minnesota wants: good jobs and quality healthcare for our families. But Mayo continues to push their demands that would undermine our jobs and take away healthcare. Now information is out that when workers stood up and called out Mayo for their un-Minnesotan behavior with a 1-day ULP strike (and were subsequently locked out for 7-days), leaders of the group faced retaliation when they returned to work. This is wrong. SEIU members are willing to meet halfway — and have proposed many options that would allow for compromise — but Mayo continues to demand that it is their way or the highway. Mayo executives have taken this attitude to the extreme in the behavior described in the most recent NLRB charges. It is beyond time for Mayo to treat their workers, patients and the entire Albert Lea community with the respect we deserve.”

Formal NLRB charges filed against Mayo:

“Within the past 6 months, the Employer has interfered with Section 7 rights and otherwise retaliated against bargaining-unit employees by, for example, taking adverse action against those employees for filing and successfully pursuing unfair labor practice charges against the Employer and for engaging in other protected concerted activity. Also within the past 6 months, the Employer has failed to bargain in good faith by, among other things, refusing to process or even recognize valid grievances timely filed by the Union and by making unilateral changes to interfere with and otherwise impede the Union’s communications with bargaining-unit employees about Union-related matters.”

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents over 35,000 healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota.

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SEIU Statement on Mayo Board Member Resignation

Rochester, Minn — Following news that former Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson had stepped down from the Mayo Clinic board after it came out he had donated tens of thousands of dollars to a group promoting hateful anti-Islam messages, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley released the following statement.

“It is good that Mr. Anderson is no longer on the board of Mayo, but the question now is why was a corporate CEO with no connection to Rochester or healthcare on the board in the first place? Even before the vile work he was funding came to light, why did he have a seat at the table making decisions about jobs, healthcare and investments in Rochester and across Southern Minnesota instead of someone from the community? Could it be that Mayo’s actions that have increasingly put profits and their own power over the health and security of families in our community comes in part from a board of directors who see profit and power as the ultimate objectives? Mayo should use their latest controversy as a chance to reevaluate how they do business and consider putting someone with roots in our community on the board so there are not more future embarrassments like this.”

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents over 35,000 healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota.

www.seiuhcmn.org

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Mayo’s Christmas Lockout of Albert Lea Workers Deemed Illegal by Region 18 of the National Labor Relations Board

Albert Lea, Minn – Region 18 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has found merit to the Union’s charge that Mayo illegally locked out employees over Christmas. (ruling attached) The union based its charge about the Mayo Albert Lea Christmas Lockout on the fact that, despite saying they were locking out over 80 workers because they needed to ‘honor contracts’ for replacement workers, Mayo in fact hired only a handful of workers – most of whom quit before the week was over. This left large chunks of essential work undone while Mayo locked out dedicated employees with decades of experience following the group’s 1-day strike, the first in the history of Mayo. The Christmas Lockout was the first time that healthcare workers had been locked out at Mayo and in Minnesota’s history. (more…)

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Cambridge-Isanti School District Votes to Eliminate Over 50 Special Ed Para Positions

Workers, Parents, Students and Community Vow to Fight to Stop Move

Cambridge, Minn — Last night the School Board of the Cambridge-Isanti Independent School District (ISD) 911 voted to eliminate over 230 staff hours, per day, for special education paraprofessionals at seven schools. This would result in the loss of 50-60 special education paraprofessionals–over 25% of the workforce.

ISD911_Paras2_rsThe board meeting saw an overflow, standing-room-only crowd of supporters demanding the Board not vote to make cuts that could hurt students. The cuts were announced less than a week ago in a surprise move, and the public was only given five minutes to testify about the damage that would be done by these cuts.

Testifying before the vote, paraprofessionals and parents shared the harmful effects that special education cuts would have on students and the community. Nic Johnson, who is a para at the High School and utilized special ed support when he went to school in C-I, shared why paras are so important to so many people in the community.

“I see kids just like me, and I know what they are going through,” said Valland. “I just don’t know what is going on and what will happen if you make these cuts.”

Talia Fluth, an Instructional Assistant in the schools and a parent of children who receive special education support service, spoke before the board voted to cut services to special needs services in the district.

“Ultimately, the needs of our students, my children, your children, is what is at stake when this decision is made. For the sake of our children’s future, my instructional Assistant peers, and our community as a whole, I urge you to reconsider this layoff proposal,” said Fluth. “At the very minimum we demand that this decision is postponed until members of the public and our education community can have more than six days to weigh in and share ideas on how this decision will impact the day-to-day education of our special needs students.”

Tara Valland, a para in the schools and parent of a child with dyslexia, shared how important SpEd Paras are for families the community.

“I am afraid for our community and what might happen to all of our kids. My son has dyslexia and it has been a struggle. After years of trying, we finally got a para for him and he has gone from failing to A’s. He has gone from thinking college was out of reach to wanting to go to college!,” said Valland. “Board members need to make sure every student is taken care of from Kindergarten to graduation. We want you to curb this decision until more information can be gathered by the community, teachers and most important parents in our district.”

After the decision, the overflow crowd committed to continuing to fight against the cuts that would do so much harm to students, paras, families and community members in the Cambridge-Isanti ISD 911 district.

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SEIU Endorse Tina Smith, Angie Craig, Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum

St. Paul ­– The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Minnesota State Council is proud to announce the first batch of endorsements for the 2018 elections. The Executive Board of the State Council voted to endorse Senator Tina Smith for the United States Senate, Angie Craig for the House of Representatives in the 2nd Congressional District, Representative Betty McCollum in the 4th Congressional District and Representative Keith Ellison in the 5th Congressional District. There will be more endorsements for federal, state and local elections throughout the spring.

Sen_Tina_Smith_SEIU“Tina Smith understands that for our state to be strong, working people need to have a seat at the table. When the security officers & janitors in my union were fighting for a fair contract in 2015, we fought hard to win decent wages that allow us to afford safe housing, healthcare that can support our families, and a voice to fight for what is right at a time when corporations and wealthy CEOs have more and more power,” said Haybe. “When we needed support, Tina Smith was there. We won important gains for our families, but we believe that every person in Minnesota should have the dignity and security that comes with good pay and quality, affordable healthcare. Tina Smith stood with us well before she was running for statewide office, so we know she means it when she says she will be a champion for working families as our Senator. Tina has proven time and again she wants to make Minnesota a state that works for all families, not just those at the top, and I am excited my union will be working to ensure she continues that work as our United States Senator.”

In announcing the endorsement of Angie Craig, home care worker and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota member Leilani Madden shared why she supports Craig and will be voting for Craig in November.

“As a home care worker and mother of a disabled and chronically ill daughter, I am so proud my union endorsed Angie Craig because I believe she not only understand us, she is one of us,” said Madden, who lives in Farmington with her family. “Angie and her family experienced first hand the financial suffering that comes along with medical complications. Raised by a single mother, at times, Angie went without health care coverage.  When her sister experienced a medical complication, Angie felt the weight of her mother’s distress as bills became unmanageable. These skills will help make her a great Congresswoman.”

“Angie understands how vital employee benefits are to home care workers, our families, and all Minnesotans for a safe and fulfilling career and life,” Madden continued. “Angie understands the link between high quality education and career training to increase stability. One of Angie’s fundamental values encourages fully funding Minnesota’s special education programs within the public school system. She wants all children to be given the same opportunities and be able to reach their full potential. I am excited to work with my union to make sure Angie Craig is the next Representative for CD2.”
The union also announced the endorsements of Rep. Betty McCollum in CD4 and Rep. Keith Ellison in CD5. Both are proven champions for working families and SEIU members in the Twin Cities look forward to re-electing Rep. McCollum and Rep. Ellison on Nov. 6th.

SEIU is Minnesota’s third largest and fastest-growing labor union, representing approximately 53,000 workers statewide who provide care and support for your family in your homes, hospitals, public schools, nursing homes, hotels, universities and the Twin Cities’ largest public and private buildings, and who make and distribute products used by Minnesotans every day.  SEIU members are employed in a variety of occupations, including:

  • Hospital, clinic, nursing home and in-home support workers with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota
  • Public school and early childhood workers, and university faculty with SEIU Local 284
  • Commercial and public building maintenance employees and security officers with SEIU Local 26
  • Hospitality, commercial laundry, manufacturing and distribution workers with Workers United

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The SEIU Minnesota State Council coordinates the electoral, legislative and outreach work of the SEIU Locals in Minnesota to increase the effectiveness of their efforts to organize unorganized workers in critical sectors of our economy, improve wages, hours and working conditions, and build political and legislative power for all workers and their families.  The State Council’s board is comprised of elected leaders, SEIU members and staff of the various SEIU Local Unions in Minnesota, and that board, with the active participation and input of our broader membership, determines our endorsements.

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SEIU Statement on Dr. Noseworthy Retirement Announcement

Rochester — Following the announcement that Mayo CEO Dr. Noseworthy will retire by the end of 2018, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley released the following statement:

“Under Dr. Noseworthy, Mayo has taken major steps backwards in relations with their hardworking employees and patients in communities like Albert Lea where they are undermining rural healthcare. Mayo’s actions over the last seven years under Dr. Noseworthy’s leadership have put profits over the health of our communities. From locking out workers with decades of experience to closing parts of hospitals to outsourcing workers, it has been disappointing seeing what Mayo has become under Dr. Noseworthy. SEIU members who help make Mayo hospitals and clinics across southern Minnesota run smoothly and efficiently are ready for new leadership and hope that the new CEO will return back to when Mayo executives valued workers, patients and the community.”

 

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents over 35,000 healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota.

www.seiuhcmn.org

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Statement From Home Care Worker After Minnesota Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Home Care Workers’ Union

The ruling is the latest in a series of losses for anti-union groups. Workers remain committed to addressing care crisis and improving lives of workers and families across Minnesota

Saint Paul — On Tuesday a three-judge panel of the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) dismissal of a union-decertification effort by a group calling itself “MNPCA” in December 2016, working in collaboration with the right-wing think tank the Center of the American Experiment. It is the latest in a string of losses for the anti-union organizations fighting to roll back the gains won by unionized home care workers over the last four years. In response to this latest court victory for workers and for the seniors and people with disabilities who receive care and families across Minnesota fighting to address the care crisis in our state, Anoka home care worker and elected union Vice President Corey Van Denburgh released the following statement:

Somali-HomeCareWorkers“Over the last few years we have made some crucial gains for home care workers and the people we serve. It’s a far cry from all the change that’s needed – wages are still far too low and there’s no health insurance for our jobs, for example – but still, we’ve made important progress in the short period of time since we voted to unionize. We’ve won sick pay for the first time, raised the wage floor by $3/hour, won free access to trainings, won over $150,000 in back-pay awards for workers who were underpaid, built an online matching registry to help home clients find the workers they need, and established time-and-a-half pay for holidays, among other gains.  Through these accomplishments, we are finally beginning to address the severe care crisis in our state, which has only been getting worse for years because of the low pay and lack of benefits provided for this important work.

“I am relieved and happy that this latest court case was ruled in our favor, as so many others have been over the last few years. The first two lawsuits trying to take away our union were filed a month before our union election, way back in the summer of 2014, and we have been under nonstop legal and public assault by anti-union groups ever since. As home care workers and people who receive home care services, we resolved to never let these extremist attacks stop us from making progress for the people of Minnesota, nearly every one of which will need home care services at some point in our lives.

“We have a lot of work left to do to address the state’s care crisis. Big-money groups fighting for years to tear down what we have won so far is a tragic misuse of time and energy. As someone who’s done home care work for over ten years and also as someone who has family members who receive care, I believe we should all be united as Minnesotans in working towards solutions to fix the care crisis. Whether Democrat or Republican, we all have been or will be impacted by the shortage of caregivers because of low pay and lack of benefits, so I hope we can put these divisive court cases and anti-union attack campaigns behind us. Let’s come together to make sure every Minnesotan can get safe, quality care and stay in their home with their loved ones.”

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Mayo Clinic Locks Out Workers Over Christmas, Many of the Workers Have Decades of Service to Mayo and the Community

Albert Lea, Minn — On Tuesday, December 19th, hospital workers at Mayo Clinic Albert Lea went out on the first ever one-day ULP strike at Mayo Clinic. When the workers returned to go back to work on Wednesday morning at 6am, Mayo management and security blocked them from entering, thereby locking out the 79 people who work as certified nursing assistants (CNAs), housekeepers, sterile processing and in utilities and materials management for seven days, including Christmas. Mayo backed down on their lockout threats for the the 2nd bargaining unit of six skilled maintenance workers.
 
DRfQFOOVoAUtn83.jpg-largeCharlotte Nelson-Schocker, who has worked at Mayo Clinic for 28 years doing materials management, expressed the shock and frustration felt by workers who were being locked out over Christmas. 
 
“This makes me mad, sad and frustrated. We have given so much to Mayo, and now that we stood up for what is right for workers and our community, management have chosen to lock us out over Christmas,” said Neslon-Schoker. “I can’t believe it has come to this. We won’t stop fighting for what is right. I am so happy to have such amazing support from our union and community. The support means that even though Mayo has locked us out, we know we aren’t alone in our fight for good jobs and quality healthcare.”
More plans for the week will be announced today, with locked out workers speaking out at 11am.
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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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Albert Lea Hospital Workers Strike Mayo Clinic for First Time Ever

Hundreds picket as part of one-day strike, with workers supported by community members, multiple Gubernatorial candidates and other elected officials

Strikes comes as workers and community are fighting for good jobs and quality rural healthcare in face of #MayoGreed 

 

Albert Lea, Minn Hospital workers at Mayo Clinic Albert Lea walked off the job on a one-day Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike this morning at 6am. It is the first strike in the history of Mayo Clinic, and comes after countless bargaining sessions where the workers strived to find a compromise with Mayo despite Mayo’s insistence on undermining the security of the working families. The workers voted overwhelmingly to authorize their one-day Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike late last month. The historic action comes as Mayo continues to demand changes that would undermine good jobs in the community and further the erosion of rural healthcare in southern Minnesota. Workers were joined by elected officials, including multiple candidates for Governor, other elected officials, and unions who shared their support for the workers. (Statements of support from elected officials and supportive unions to be sent out after 11am rally)

 
rs_Albert_Lea_Mayo_HCMN_strikeSheri Wichmann, who has worked in Sterile processing for 18 years
, shared why hospital workers are out on strike today. 

 

“We are out on strike today because it is insulting that Mayo has treated us and our community this way. We are committed to our job and our community, and all we’re asking for is that Mayo recognizes our value. We care deeply about what happens as we are not just employees, but patients at this hospital,” said Wichmann. “We are not asking for the world, just a contract that is fair so we can feel some security for our families. We hope this will make Mayo realize they need to come to the table and negotiate in good faith.”

 

Since the vote, Mayo has threatened their employees with a seven-day lockout if they follow through with their legally-protected right to strike, a lockout that would mean workers with hundreds of years of service to Mayo patients would be locked out over Christmas. It comes during a time when Mayo’s revenues last year reached over $5 billion and Mayo’s CEO Dr. Noseworthy saw a 11% pay increase to $2.8 million per year. 

 

Perry Jensen has worked at the hospital for 20 years in the utilities department and shared why he joined his co-workers in going on strike, even in the face of threats from Mayo. 

 

“I’m going on strike because I am disappointed in Mayo’s ‘my way or the highway’ bargaining. It’s hard to feel valued or appreciated with what they are offering us and what they are proposing to take away,” said Jensen. “It feels like there isn’t the concern for us as employees and community members like there used to be. They won’t budge at all and want to force us to take what they want without sitting down and bargaining. It is a slap in the face. This was always a good place to work, but it is turning more into a corporate feel. I hope this strike makes them realize all we want is for them to sit down and bargain with us for what is fair for everyone.”

 

Joining striking workers were community members like Jeanine Anderson who shared support for the workers fighting for good jobs and quality rural healthcare. 

 

“As a major employer here, Mayo sets the standard for jobs and the decisions they make about employment have a direct and immediate impact on this community,” said Jeanine Anderson, who worked as a manager at Mayo for 37 years before recently retiring. “The workers out here exemplify everyone in our community who depends on Mayo for good, secure jobs and quality healthcare. People come from around the world to be treated at the Mayo clinic, but our community’s needs are being thrown by the wayside. We are standing with the workers because our community needs to have a voice or we will lose out even more.”

 

The striking workers included the general group bargaining unit, consisting of 79 members who work as certified nursing assistants (CNAs), housekeepers, sterile processing and in utilities and materials management, who have been bargaining for over a year. Joining the larger group are six skilled maintenance workers who have been without a contract for over two years. 

 

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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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