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Hospital workers head back to work in Albert Lea

This comes after a one-day strike turned into a seven-day lock-out.

Posted: Dec. 26, 2017 6:39 PM
Updated: Dec. 26, 2017 6:39 PM

ALBERT LEA, Minn. – Hospital workers at Mayo Clinic Health System Albert Lea headed back to work Tuesday.

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This comes after a one-day strike turned into a seven-day lock-out.

Dave Larson is just one of the 79 workers a part of the SEIU Healthcare Minnesota union. He has worked in the utilities department at Mayo Clinic Health System Albert Lea for more than a decade.

He said last week’s strike, the lock-out, and walking back into work together has created a sense of unity among the workers.

“You don’t really know what you have until you actually start fighting for something,” Larson said.

Larson said Mayo wanted to change over 50 items in their contracts, which left him wondering why they wanted to cut so much.

“So then I'm sitting there thinking,” Larson said, “‘Well our contract, if they're willing to come to Albert Lea and negotiate and want to cut our contract down for a bunch of janitors and housekeepers, what's everyone else's contract like? Is it below ours?”

Larson will be a part of the negotiation process that will take place Thursday, Dec. 28. He said things workers want to focus on within their contracts are hours, wages, and health insurance for part-time employees.

“You know you're supposed to slowly build up everything as you get older in life and everything,” Larson said. “Nobody wants to take a beating at work.”

Larson said the negotiating will be long, but also a learning process for both parties. He’s hopeful they’ll be able to compromise.

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