Union says Mayo retaliated against striking employees in new NLRB charges: 7 things to know

The Service Employees International Union Healthcare Minnesota filed new charges against Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic Health System, alleging the system retaliated against employees at its Albert Lea (Minn.) Campus following a one-day strike, according to the Albert Lea Tribune.

Here are seven things to know.

1. The new charges — filed April 17 with the National Labor Relations Board — specifically allege Mayo "took retaliatory action against Albert Lea employees who spoke out [about] the strike immediately after workers returned to work," according to the report, which cites the charges. Additionally, the union said "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."

2. The most recent allegations come after the National Labor Relations Board in March scheduled a hearing for July 30 regarding the union's previous allegations that Mayo violated federal labor law when it banned workers from returning to work following the strike. On Dec. 19, 79 SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members, including certified nursing assistants, housekeepers, sterile processing technicians and utilities and materials workers, went on strike. The day after the strike, union members unsuccessfully tried to return to work.

3. Mayo previously said it repeatedly told SEIU leaders and members it would bring in replacement workers if a strike took place. Since a seven-day employment commitment is required for those replacement workers, the striking Mayo employees were told they could not return to their jobs until Dec. 26.

4. Mayo told Becker's Hospital Review via statement it became aware of the union's most recent allegations after notification from local media outlets, but has not received a copy of the complaint. The system said this "suggests to us that SEIU is more concerned with making headlines than they are with trying to make progress at the bargaining table. Although filing of unfair labor practice charges is a common union tactic, it is nevertheless disappointing considering we have negotiations with SEIU scheduled for next week."

5. Since it has not received the complaint, Mayo said it is not able to speak about the allegations. However, the system did reiterate its position with respect to negotiations.

"Mayo Clinic Health System remains firmly committed to the negotiations process," Mayo's statement reads. "Talks have always focused on finding an agreement that provides the same benefits on the same terms offered to other employees throughout Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Health System. Our benefit proposals have been accepted by 24 of our 26 union groups, leaving only the two SEIU groups in Albert Lea demanding something different."

6. Longtime Albert Lea hospital utilities employee Dave Larson said in a union news release the union seeks "good jobs and quality healthcare for our families," but that hospital officials still "push their demands that would undermine our jobs and take away healthcare."

7. Negotiations between both parties are expected to continue next week.



More articles on human capital and risk:
Five Attributes Critical for Healthcare Leaders in the Near Future
NLRB takes up SEIU complaint over Mayo's Christmas work stoppage in Albert Lea
Disruptive Collaboration in Healthcare

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