The Potluck

Support staff at Mayo Clinic’s Mankato hospital vote to get rid of union

By: - June 20, 2023 12:28 pm

Photo by Max Nesterak/Minnesota Reformer.

Nursing support staff, clerical workers and environmental staff voted to decertify their union at Mayo Clinic’s Mankato hospital, the National Right to Work Foundation, a nonprofit anti-union advocacy group, announced on Monday.

The vote by a majority of some 200 support workers to get rid of their union marks second victory in less than a year at Mayo Clinic facilities by the National Right to Work Foundation, which supported the successful effort by nurses to dissolve their union less than a year ago.

The latest effort was led by health care unit coordinator Melody Morris, who celebrated the results in a statement shared by the National Right to Work Foundation. She declined to be interviewed through a spokesperson.

“My colleagues and I want to provide the best support we can to the medical staff at Mankato Mayo Clinic Hospital, and we determined that having AFSCME in the workplace wasn’t helping us do so, nor was the union looking out for our interests,” Morris said in the statement.

Just one group of about 15 maintenance engineers remains unionized at the Mankato hospital after the decertification votes by nurses and support staff.

Morris filed a petition to hold a decertification election in May with the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees private sector unions. The NLRB has not yet certified the results of the election.

In a statement, AFSCME accused Mayo leaders and outside forces of coordinating a pressure campaign on workers to eliminate the union in order to cut costs and reduce transparency.

“Corporate health care in Minnesota is becoming an unchecked power to the detriment of our communities, patients, and healthcare workers,” AFSCME 65 Executive Director Shannon Douvier said in a statement. “From Mayo’s policy of discrimination against Medicaid patients to recent revelations of another chain’s policy refusing care to patients with medical debt, it is becoming clear that Minnesotans are at the mercy of corporate bottom lines.”

In a statement, a Mayo Clinic spokeswoman said the election was the result of a “staff-led effort” and said the organization “looks forward to working with them directly.”

The National Right to Work Foundation also provided free legal assistance to workers at Mayo Clinic’s facility in St. James, who voted to sever ties with AFSCME Council 65 last August.

Two groups of workers at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center, who are unionized with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and Iowa, also held decertification elections last year with help from the National Right to Work Foundation but voted to stay unionized.

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Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Previously, 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.