(The Center Square) — The majority of a unit of nursing support, clerical and environmental staff have voted to remove a union’s officials from power at Mankato Mayo Clinic.
Members of the unit signed the petition May 9 to oust American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 1856 union officials, according to a National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation news release. Mankato Mayo employee Melody Morris, with free legal aid from the foundation, filed the petition asking the National Labor Relations Board to hold a union decertification vote at the hospital. The majority of her coworkers supported the petition, the release said.
“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 release. “I’m grateful that we came together to free ourselves from the union, and we’re also grateful for the help of the National Right to Work Foundation in helping us accomplish this.”
Pending confirmation by the National Labor Relations Board of the voting results, 186 Mayo Clinic Health System service workers in Mankato will no longer be represented by the union, according to a Mayo Clinic Health System statement The Center Square received Tuesday.
“This is a staff-led effort, and we are grateful for our staff’s confidence in Mayo Clinic Health System,” the statement said. “We look forward to working with them directly.”
AFSCME Council 65 said in a news release that Mayo pressured workers into removing the union.
“As part of its coordinated effort to avoid accountability, Mayo enlisted the support of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund (NRTWLDF) to attack their employees’ rights to have a voice in the workplace,” the release said. “Workers in a union have more freedom and protection to raise concerns about safety and care in our hospitals.”
AFSCME Council 65 Executive Director Shannon Douvier said in the release that corporate health care in Minnesota is becoming an unchecked power.
“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,” Douvier said.
Since Minnesota isn’t a Right to Work state, union officials decide whether workers under their control pay dues as a condition of employment, National Right to Work Foundation said in a news release.
“It’s easy to see why workers across the country are increasingly trying to free themselves from monopoly union ‘representation.’ Workers who prefer to speak for themselves or have interests that deviate from the union’s are all forced to accept the monolithic voice of union officials, who often chase politics or other superficial goals instead of doing what’s best for workers,” National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix said in a foundation news release. “Minnesota healthcare workers may additionally be concerned that union boss-ordered strikes might force them to choose between staying with their patients or following the union agenda.”