Mayo Clinic, food service workers settle labor conflict

 Union food service workers have approved a proposal from Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic, resolving a months-long labor conflict, reports the Post-Bulletin.

The employees, who work at Mayo's southern Minnesota facilities and are represented by the Service Employees International Union Healthcare Minnesota, approved the proposal earlier this month. The proposal offers a financial bridge to workers worth between $3 million and $4.5 million through the end of this year in exchange for the union dropping a complaint and grievance filed late last year against Mayo, according to the report. The vote was approved by 500 dietary workers.

In a separate matter, 2,000 union members granted dietary workers a four-month window of "super seniority" to consider returning to jobs at Mayo, according to the report.

The union votes follow Mayo's announcement last year that it would switch from Sodexo to Morrison Healthcare for food and nutrition services at 20 campuses across the country. For months, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota has fought the health system's plan to outsource food services.

The union has held multiple rallies to protest Mayo's plan. Additionally, more than 30 legislators signed a petition asking Mayo to reconsider its food service decision, with many expressing concerns it would result in reduced employee salaries, according to according the Post-Bulletin.

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley said union members remain angry at Mayo, despite the fact they approved the health system's compromise, according to the report.

"Dietary workers who approved this agreement are still upset that Mayo made this decision [to outsource]," Mr. Gulley said. "They continue to feel that they've been thrown under the bus so Mayo can make more profits."

Mayo emailed a statement to Becker's, saying it is pleased with the outcome of the vote. 

"While we believe that this decision to transition to Morrison is in the best interests of patients, we also knew it would be a disappointment to Mayo Clinic food service staff. They're part of our family, and have worked hard to serve our patients, visitors and staff. We realize change is hard, and that is why we are offering this transition package," Mayo said.

Mayo also pointed out that the financial bridge is not unique to union employees and is the same package offered to all food service employees who are transitioning to Morrison Healthcare.

 

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