Mayo nurses vote to remove union

Nurses at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, Minn., voted 213 to 181 July 25 to remove the Minnesota Nurses Association as their bargaining representative, according to the Minnesota Reformer.

The decision came after nurses signed a decertification petition seeking an election, which was filed by Brittany Burgess, RN, with the National Labor Relations Board with assistance from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. The foundation is a nonprofit with a mission "to eliminate coercive union power and compulsory unionism abuses through strategic litigation, public information and education programs."

The Minnesota Nurses Association, which is affiliated with the National Nurses United, represents about 500 nurses at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato. Mayo Clinic Health System, part of Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic, has facilities in Southern Minnesota, Western Wisconsin and Northern Iowa.

Tammie Fromm, BSN, RN, operating room nurse at Mayo Clinic Mankato, denounced the election results in a statement shared with Becker's by the union.

"For decades, since long before Mayo Health System purchased our community's hospital, nurses here have proudly stood together to fight for better conditions for local workers and patients in our hospitals. Despite our efforts, local nurses faced a highly powered, well-funded outside national organization bent on undermining worker power and collective bargaining rights," said Ms. Fromm.

She also said the removal of the union "marks another sad step in the corporatization of community healthcare in Southern Minnesota," and that she is "hopeful that committed nurses in Mankato will seek out ways to continue to make our collective voices heard in our hospital and our community."

The election results have not yet been confirmed by the National Labor Relations Board, but that confirmation is expected in about a week, according to a statement shared with Becker's from Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato.

"This is a staff-led effort, and we are grateful for the confidence our nursing staff has in Mayo Clinic Health System. We look forward to working with them directly," the statement said.

Ms. Burgess did not return calls from the Minnesota Reformer seeking comment.

In a statement shared with Becker's after the vote, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix said: "We are proud to have helped Mayo Clinic nurses exercise their right to free themselves of an unwanted union. MNA union bosses should respect the result of the nurses’ vote and its clear rejection of their so-called 'representation.'"

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