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SMH Bargaining

St. Mary's Hospital Bargaining

Bargaining Update - May 15, 2024

Hello SMH Union members,

Key Links

Supplemental Agreement Video (English with subtitles): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SFLqjIXepwHb72mu7IYTzLjYppgGyDbK/view?usp=sharing

Vídeo del Acuerdo Suplementario (Español): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EEIS884qkk0AZnkLba7MU9JWzms-MqUf/view?usp=sharing

Video Heshiiska Kabka Ah (Soomali):

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aR73eSQGhyNnE5cj1pENUwjylpjIMhHQ/view?usp=drivesdk

We also have videos in Spanish and Somali, and will have videos in Bosnian, Amharic, and Vietnamese coming soon so that everyone in our diverse union can participate.

Supplemental Agreement Questions Form: https://forms.gle/TChuC3Y4U1maXFpA8

Picket sign up commitment form: SMH Info Picket Commit (jotform.com)

We have an update for you on how bargaining went with the employer on Monday, May 13th. Unfortunately we don’t have much to report. We were only able to do one pass of proposals from each side through the day. We were hoping to do one more by the end of the day and the bargaining team was prepared to stay as long as was necessary since this is what we were elected by you, our coworkers, to do and we are committed to that. However, the employer did not feel the same way as us and instead chose to end the day at 5:30 and start again next Thursday, May 23rd. In their one proposal that they put across the table, they still did not progress in agreeing to our core demands of caps on mandatory overtime, better training programs, floating holidays, or restrictions on temporary/traveling staff. They also only came up .5% in the third year of their wage proposal. It was insulting. Additionally, we were chastised for sharing our stories with the media and with the public about what is really going on at Mayo Clinic. It is clear to us that they care more about how they are viewed in the public eye than how they are viewed by their own employees who are the ones taking care of patients day in and day out and making the hospital run.

We know that now is the time for us to increase the pressure on the employer, and in order to do that we need the involvement of every member of our bargaining unit. There is only so much that can be done at the table – our real strength comes from all of us as a whole acting together as a union. We are moving forward with our plans for an informational picket at St. Mary’s on Tuesday, May 28th from 2:30pm-5:30pm. Please make every effort to turn out on the line with us! Whether it is before or after work, on your day off, or even for 15 minutes on your break, the amount of participation from union members makes all the difference in what happens at the table and each and every one of you plays an extremely important part in that. You can sign up to commit to coming to the picket on the form linked above. Please share with your coworkers, family, and friends!

We are also moving forward with a plan for something that has never been done before in the history of the union at St. Mary’s Hospital. We currently have something in place that we call the “supplemental agreement”. You can find it on page 57 of our contract. What it says is that we have the right to go to arbitration if we are not able to reach an agreement with the employer at the table. The entails taking our arguments to a panel of three arbitrators who then look at our proposals, the employers proposals, take into account internal and external factors at Mayo Clinic and healthcare as a whole in the state of Minnesota, and then they issue a binding decision and impose a contract on us and Mayo. There are many benefits to having this option, one of the main ones being that it guarantees the safety of aspects of our union difference such as the pension. In return for the right to arbitrate, we give up our right to strike for one full year after the expiration of the contract. Since we always settle the contract before that year is up, this essentially means that we do not have the right to strike. For many years, this has not been an issue as Mayo in the past has taken care of their employees and the Rochester community. But as we know now, the tides have turned and Mayo Clinic is not the employer that they used to be. This has prompted the bargaining team to have the discussion on whether or not we want to re-sign the supplemental agreement in this round of negotiations. Because this is such an important and historic issue, the team believes that we need to have you, the membership, vote on whether or not we should sign the supplemental agreement and gain the right to strike. The options are to 1. Yes, sign the supplemental agreement and preserve the right to arbitrate, and 2. No, do not sign the supplemental agreement and gain the right to strike. The vote will begin on the picket line on 5/28 from 2:30-5:30, and will continue the next day 5/29 from 6am-9pm at St. Mary’s, location details to be announced. We will have the votes tallied that night and will know the results before we go back to the table with the employer the following day 5/30.

Over the next two weeks we will be holding information sessions in person and over Zoom to talk with members about what all of this means. We will also be sharing FAQs and other information over you emails so please keep an eye out for that. We want everyone to feel comfortable and informed as they cast their vote in this important decision. We have made some videos to talk briefly about this subject, you can find the links above. In the coming days we will have videos also in Somali, Spanish, Bosnian, and hopefully more languages so that everyone in our diverse union can participate. The English video also has captions to make it more accessible. Please share these videos widely with your coworkers! There is also a link above that goes to a form that you can fill out with questions that you have. We will take these questions and answer them in our info sessions and in the FAQs.

The bargaining team has voted that they are recommending that SEIU members vote NO and gain our right to strike. This does not mean that we will be striking, only that we will have the right too, and often times the threat of striking is strong enough to put the employer in a place where they are forced to meet our demands of a fair, equitable, and safe working environment with good wages that allow us to take care of ourselves and our families. We know that there is power when we stand together, we know that as workers we are the ones who make this hospital run, and without us there is no Mayo Clinic. This is our strongest tool.

We are also still looking for members to join our Contract Action Team (CAT)! This group will be helping to plan the picket and get the word out for the supplemental agreement vote so it is important we have as many people participate as possible! The next meeting will be on Monday, May 20th. Hybrid meetings will be held at 12:00PM as well as at 5:30PM, with a virtual option on Zoom (https://seiuhcmn.zoom.us/j/81195461998) and an in-person option at the Southeast Minnesota Area Labor Council (2443 Clare Ln NE #200, Rochester, MN 55906, in the former Social Security Building). Please reach out to SEIU organizer Bella at arabella.childers@seiuhcmnia.org for more information.

Please stay tuned for more updates and information, and we will see you on the picket line!

In solidarity,

Your Union bargaining team

Bargaining Update - May 8, 2024

Hello SMH union members,

We met with the Mayo bargaining team yesterday, May 7th. We began the day with the employer putting their proposal across the table, but we were disappointed that they still did not give us their preliminary wage proposal. Despite our frustrations, the team held firm and we told the employer that we would no longer be able to move forward until they provided us with a wage proposal. Because the team held strong and pushed, the employer came back and decided that they would fulfill our request and bring us a proposal. We are very happy about this development so that we are able to continue to progress in bargaining.

The employer’s initial proposal is just that, initial. This is not their final offer and is not something that will be agreed upon. They offered 3% for the first year of the contract, and 1% each year for the subsequent years. Although this is insulting, we know that this is higher than they have ever started with us in negotiations and we are very confident that they will continue to move closer to us. We are standing firm in our commitment to a $20 minimum wage for all members from the start, pay equity for groups like PCAs and SPTs that are close to $3 an hour below people in the Cities doing the exact same jobs, and proportional raises for everyone else that reflect our current economic realities. We are also standing firm on language that puts caps on mandatory overtime and additional hours, better language around training, floating holidays, shoe allowances for all, and that regulates issues around travelers in the surgery department.

We are hoping that Mayo will be doing the right thing in the next bargaining sessions, but if we don’t get what we need we are prepared to hold an informational picket on May 28th at the hospital to show Mayo that we as a group will not be backing down. For more information and to sign up to commit to attending the picket check out the following link: SMH Info Picket Commit (jotform.com)

We will be meeting at the table again next Monday, May 13th and will have an update for you all following that meeting. In the meantime, we need more people to join the Contract Action Team (CAT) in order to put outside pressure on Mayo to do the right thing. Please reach out to SEIU organizer Bella at arabella.childers@seiuhcmnia.org to get involved.

In solidarity,

Your Union Bargaining Team

Bargaining Update - April 30, 2024

Hello SMH union members,

The bargaining team met with Mayo’s negotiation team last Thursday. In addition to their regular negotiators, Chris Dvorak and Jeff Zahnle from labor relations, they were also joined by Amber Werkis from Surgical Services leadership and Joellen Frain from HR leadership. It was a frustrating day for the bargaining team. We unfortunately made little progress on our core demands of overtime protections, better training, floating holidays, and wages. The employer still has not provided a counter to our wage proposal that we put forward at our last meeting, and they claimed that they would not be giving us a counter until we made more progress on our core demands (by this they mean moving away from our language or dropping it altogether). We also spent a significant amount of time discussing temporary workers (travelers) and the issues that result from Mayo’s reliance on them instead of investing in existing employees. We find this absolutely insulting and potentially not bargaining in good faith (a legal term) and will not allow them to bully the group into doing what they expect from us, which is to sit down and be quiet. We are disappointed that they are not engaging with us in a meaningful way. We were also hoping that having higher ups in Mayo leadership present would mean that they would make more progress with us since those people have more power to approve the changes we are demanding, but there was very little participation from them in the conversations at the table.

We are meeting at the table again next Tuesday, May 7th. We hope to make more progress on that day and will be joined by a federal mediator to help us work better together. In the meantime, we need more people to join the Contract Action Team (CAT) in order to put outside pressure on Mayo to do the right thing. Please reach out to SEIU organizer Bella at arabella.childers@seiuhcmnia.org to get involved.

In solidarity,

Your Union bargaining team

Bargaining Update - April 10, 2024

Hi SMH union members,

We had a productive day in bargaining yesterday, 4/11. We were able to block some takeaways that the employer wanted to have us agree to, and we were able to make some progress on some of our demands. Namely, we are holding on our commitment to increase the uniform and shoe allowance and make them available to all employees regardless of FTE (for uniform allowance) and classification (shoe allowance). The employer has moved on increasing those amounts but not to the point that we need. We are also holding on better overtime language, longevity benefits, and improving training practices.

We will be introducing wage proposals next week at our next session on Thursday, April 16th. We will keep everyone posted as we move forward with that part of our bargaining fight.

If you are interested in contributing to the bargaining process, please join the contract action team! Contact organizer Arabella Childers at arabella.childers@seiuhcmnia.org.

Thanks so much,

Your SMH bargaining team

Bargaining Update - March 28, 2024

Hello SMH union members!

We have an update from how bargaining went on Tuesday 3/26. We are making progress on some of our proposals, however we have yet to make progress on some of our core demands of better training process and managing mandatory overtime. We are getting closer on uniform allowances but still aren’t there yet on pieces that we are holding on like shoe allowances. We haven’t gotten to the point yet of introducing wage proposals since that comes after we have made enough progress on non-economic proposals. We have scheduled three additional meetings at the table for 4/9, 4/18, and 4/25. We will continue to keep you all updated and informed!

We also have a petition to support our bargaining priorities, please sign that here if you haven’t yet! It is open to all union members as well as non-union employees and community supporters. SMH Demands Petition (jotform.com)

Our next Contract Action Team (CAT) meeting will be next week on Tuesday, April 2nd at 12:00PM and 5:30PM. The CAT is open to all union members and will be held in a hybrid format; it will be in-person at our Rochester office space at the Southeast Area Labor Council (2443 Clare Ln NE #200, Rochester MN 55906 in the former Social Security building). There will also be an option to join via Zoom at this link: https://seiuhcmn.zoom.us/j/81195461998. Please jump into the Contract Action Team and get involved if you want to help your bargaining team get the best contract we possibly can!

Thanks and solidarity,

Your SMH bargaining team

Bargaining Update - March 18, 2024

Hello SMH union members,

Last Thursday the bargaining team met with Mayo Clinic’s bargaining team for our 2024 contract negotiations. Things are moving along and we are making progress. As this point in negotiations we don’t talk about wages as that is usually the last thing that is addressed. Right now we are focusing on improving our overtime language, break language, shift differentials, uniform and shoe allowances, and holidays.

We are meeting again this Thursday, March 21st and will continue to update the bargaining unit as we go.

We also got a tentative agreement for the one year wage increase at Methodist last week. You can view the details of that here: https://www.seiuhcmnia.org/campaigns/mayo-methodist-bargaining/

If you want to get involved and help support your bargaining team to get the best contract we can, the Contract Action Team (CAT) is meeting this Friday, March 22nd at 12:00pm and 5:30pm.

We will be in person at our Rochester office space shared with the Southeast Area Labor Council - the address is 2443 Clare Ln NE #200, Rochester, MN 55906. We will also have a hybrid virtual option on Zoom which can be accessed here.

In solidarity,

Your SMH bargaining team

Bargaining Update - February 29, 2024

Hi everyone,

On February 29th we had our first day of negotiations with Mayo for our 2024-2026 contract at Saint Mary’s. There were three passes of proposals in total, two from us and one from the employer. 

There is so much we want to address this year in bargaining, too much to summarize here in this update. However some of the highlights for our priorities include wages, mandated overtime, and trainings.We made it clear as we introduced our proposals that we want to work with the employer to get a good contract done as quickly as possible. We began with mostly “non-economic” proposals, hoping to get some of the things without a specific price tag out of the way and build some momentum. 

We are just getting started and there is much more bargaining to do – and we need your help! If you find yourself wanting to support your coworkers on the Bargaining Team and build pressure on Mayo, now is a great time to mark your calendar for the first Contract Action Team meeting, which will be held on Friday, March 8th. Look out for a separate invitation next week.

Our next days of negotiations will be March 14th, March 21st, and March 26th. You can expect to get more updates as we move forward towards the contract that we deserve!

In solidarity,
Your SEIU Bargaining Team at SMH

Bargaining Priorities Survey

Bargaining Team Nomination Form

You must be a member in good standing to fill out the survey and nominations form. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do that here.