ALBERT LEA, Minn. - After years of going back and forth, Mayo Clinic and members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota who work at Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea, have come to a tentative contract agreement.
It's not finalized yet, but it's giving a sense of relief of workers who have been without a contract for nearly two years.
Back in December of 2017, workers picketed in the cold and fought for their contracts. Now, they're feeling a sense of relief after coming to an agreement with Mayo Clinic.
"A happy employee makes a happy environment," Dave Larson said, "and anybody up there that's working, we're all for the patient, we're all trying to do the best we can to help the patients make a nice stay at the hospital."
Dave Larson has worked in the utilities at the hospital in Albert Lea for just over 10 years, and is a part of the negotiations for SEIU.
Those a part of the negotiations tell KIMT the road block with the negotiations was the language surrounding the benefits. Workers fighting for their contracts will soon have the same benefits as all Mayo employees.
The agreement comes after SEIU members, like Larson, voted for a second strike in late April. Those with Mayo Clinic said they're thankful it didn't have to come to that.
"A lot of members were really leery after that first strike to have a strike," Larson said, " but we all came together really tight and it made all of us more unified."
All SEIU needs to do is provide the National Labor Relations Board with written notice to withdraw their unfair labor practice charges. Once the charges are dismissed, the contracts will be officials, and Mayo expects that to happen within the next few days.
Dr. Mark Ciota is the CEO of Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea and Austin. He said he thinks of this as a true compromise and hopes to move forward.
"Nobody gets exactly what they want," Ciota said, "but we both have an agreement that we feel let's both parties move forward to provide the care that we need to provide."
Larson said there's a sense of pride for what they were able to accomplish.
"Sometimes you gotta do that. You have to stand up for your beliefs and we didn't want to cave because you know Mayo is the best facility, medical-wise in the world and we're all proud to work for Mayo," Larson said, "but sometimes they need to realize too that we are patients, we are employees."