The Potluck

Nurses vote to stay in union at Mayo Health Clinic in Lake City

By: - October 7, 2022 9:03 am

Minnesota Nurses Association President Mary Turner. Photo by Max Nesterak/Minnesota Reformer.

Nurses at the Mayo Health Clinic in Lake City voted to remain unionized on Thursday, rejecting a campaign supported by a national anti-union group to dissolve unions at health care facilities across the country. 

The election follows a major defeat for the nurses’ union earlier this year at the Mayo Clinic’s Mankato Hospital, where nurses voted to get rid of their union of 500 workers, which had been in place there for more than seven decades. 

That effort was also led by the National Right To Work Foundation, a conservative nonprofit whose mission is to “eliminate coercive union power and compulsory unionism.” The group has also recently helped clerical workers at health care facilities in northern Minnesota file for elections to get rid of their unions.

Jackie Kuzma, a nurse at the Mayo Clinic facility in southeastern Minnesota and union supporter, said she is relieved by the results. 

“Lake City is small and Mayo continues to grow. Through the union, I am able to have a voice, and I can use that voice to better or improve my work environment,” Kuzma said. 

Holding a union decertification election required at least 30% of the clinic’s 31 union nurses to sign a petition. But in the end, just five nurses voted to dissolve the union, while 22 voted to stay unionized. 

Kuzma said both the Mayo Clinic and the nurses’ union held voluntary presentations for workers on what it would mean to dissolve the union. 

She said a key issue for her was the fear of losing good benefits like maternity leave. Nurses at Lake City can take six months of partially paid parental leave. 

“I know that if I was to have a child, I could be gone for six months and I could come back with my seniority,” Kuzma said.

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Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Most recently he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.