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Nurses at Mayo Clinic in Mankato seeking union decertification from MNA

A group of nurses at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato are looking to break away from the current union that represents them, the Minnesota Nurses Association.

Mayo Clients.JPG
Brittany Burgess, front middle, with several of her coworkers who are petitioning for union desertification outside the Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, Minnesota on June 30, 2022. <br/> Front row from left to right is Ashley Martin, Brittany Burgess and Alisa Stark. Back row from left to right is Jeanna Hoins, Jennifer Kelner, Erin Eccles, Dan Larsen and Tamara Corcoran.
Contributed / Brittany Burgess
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MANKATO — The Minnesota Nurses Association could soon see a decrease in membership from a Mayo Clinic Health System located in Mankato.

A group of nurses at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato filed a petition requesting an end to the union on the grounds of union officials holding a monopoly in bargaining powers over the nurses. The petition itself was filed by Brittany Burgess, a nurse who works at the Mayo Clinic health care facility.

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Burgess declined to comment for this story.

Kylie Thomas, communications associate for the National Right to Work, spoke on what drove these nurses to file this petition for union decertification.

“The request is seeking to end MNA union officials’ monopoly bargaining powers at the Mayo Clinic. These nurses clearly believe they would be better off without the union," Thomas said. "It is worth pointing out that different workers at the same workplace may come to the conclusion that they want to be free of the union for other reasons.”

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A minimum of 30% of the employees at Health System in Mankato are needed for the vote to de-certify themselves from the MNA. Burgess was able to rally around 200 of her coworkers to participate in the voting process, which eclipses the minimum 30% threshold for a vote to happen.

Burgess and her coworkers are receiving help from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. The role of the foundation is to assist the group of nurses with the right to exercise their vote without roadblocks from the union they are currently a part of.

Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation, spoke on how the foundation is currently helping these nurses.

“It should be a simple process to get the decertification vote. Unfortunately, it can often be a little complicated in how the National Labor Relations Board applies the various internal policies the NRLB has as well,” Semmens said.

As of now, the nurses at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato are awaiting dates from the National Labor Relations Board for when they can officially vote on decertification from the Minnesota Nurses Association.

Semmens explained how the process could play out following the NLRB’s review and scheduling of the dates to vote. “The way it works is when a petition is filed, the various parties get notified and then they stipulate to an election. Once that happens the nurses will be allowed a time period to schedule voting for the nurses within the workplace.”

Tammie Fromm, Operating Room RN at Mayo Clinic Mankato and MNA Negotiating Team Member, spoke on the issues from the perspective of the Minnesota Nurses Association, "The more than 950 MNA nurses of Mayo Clinics are the union. Together, we have successfully bargained for better contracts, organized for adequate PPE in the early days of the pandemic, and petitioned for adequate staffing levels to keep nurses at the bedside. We will continue to organize together to retain nurses and protect patient care in our communities," said Fromm.

Mayo Clinic provided a statement to the Post Bulletin on this issue saying, “Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato has learned that more than 200 nurses have signed a petition seeking a vote on the removal of the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) union. This is a staff-led effort. We are grateful for the confidence the petitioners have in Mayo Clinic Health System.”

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Currently, nurses at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato are the only ones within Mayo Clinic looking to decertify from the MNA union.

Theodore Tollefson is a business reporter for the Post Bulletin. He is originally from Burnsville, Minn., and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a bachelor's degree in journalism in December 2020. Readers can reach Theodore at 507-281-7420 or ttollefson@postbulletin.com.
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