Clinic business

Lake City Mayo Clinic nurses vote to keep union – Reuters

LAKE CITY — Calling it the first such union victory at a Mayo Clinic facility, Lake City registered nurses voted to remain unionized, defeating an attempt to decertify the union.

The Nurses Association of Minnesota announced the results of Thursday’s vote. Of the 32 eligible nurses at the Mayo Clinic Health System facility in Lake City, 22 voted to remain with the union and five voted to decertify the union.

The secret ballot vote was conducted by the conservative nonprofit National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which opposes organized labor.

“Lake City nurses came out as a united front today,” Jackie Kuzma, RN and union member, said of the vote. “Lake City nurses are our union, and we are here to stay in the fight for better conditions for our colleagues and our patients. No outside organization can come between the force of nurses mobilizing to defend our profession, our patients and our community.

As the vote approached, she said nurses researched what it would be like to work for the Mayo Clinic without union representation.

“Everyone had the opportunity to find information and it brought us together stronger,” Kuzma said. “I am delighted to gain this momentum and begin negotiations shortly.”

Negotiations are expected to begin this fall, with the current contract due to expire at the end of the year.

The Mayo Clinic moved into the Lake City market in 1997. No one from the Mayo Clinic was available Thursday night to comment on the vote.

No National Right to Work representative was available for comment Thursday evening. The organization describes its primary mission as “to eliminate the coercive power of unions and the abuses of compulsory unionism through strategic litigation, public information and education programs.”

A Lake City nurse with NRW Legal Aid filed a petition with the Federal Labor Relations Board in August that spurred the vote.

The Minnesota Nurses Association described the petition as an “attempt to strip workers of collective bargaining rights” by “a nationwide anti-union group backed by high-profile lawyers and backed by the black money of millionaires and billionaires.” trying to undermine workers’ power.”

A similar petition presented by National Right to Work at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato was successful in July with 213 nurses voting to withdraw from the union and 181 nurses supporting the union.

Brittany Burgess, nurse and daughter-in-law of Minnesota billionaire Glen Taylor, filed the petition to dismiss the union in Mankato. Taylor has publicly stated that he does not want his own employees unionized, including those at the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper.

The next step after the vote is for all parties to wait seven days for any objections to the election to be filed. If a party files an objection to void the results, a recast of the ballots will take place. If no objections are filed, the National Labor Review Board will begin the certification process.