ALBERT LEA, Minn. - Over the Christmas holiday, some Mayo employees picketed in front of Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea because they were unhappy with the status of the contract negotiation process with Mayo.
Workers say in response, Mayo blocked the protesters from coming to work for seven days and hired temporary workers.
SEIU Healthcare, a healthcare union, filed a complaint against Mayo and says the National Labor Relations Board scheduled a hearing for July 30.
On Wednesday, SEIU sent out a press release titled "Mayo's Christmas Lockout of Albert Lea Workers Deemed Illegal By Region 18 of the National Labor Relations Board."
Mayo Health System responded with its own statement: "The statement from SEIU is deliberately misleading. The notice issued by the local office of the National Labor Relations Board does not make any judgment about Mayo's handling of the December strike."
Mayo utilities worker Justin Yost and housekeeper Marlene Baseman were affected by the lockout. They call the negotiation process between Mayo and its employees thus far "one-sided," and the lockout a "retaliation" against employees for picketing. They hope the NLRB's decision to hear the case will help them move along with settling contracts employees are satisfied with. "We just want a contract they can't tear up whenever they feel like it," says Baseman, who has been with the company for 27 years.
The next contract negotiation meeting between Mayo and union workers is April 23. The NLRB encourages both sides to come to an agreement before the trial. If they do, the trial will be called off. If they don't,a hearing will be held July 30th in Minneapolis in front of an administrative law judge. SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley says they hope Mayo will return to the table to negotiate so that neither side has to spend more time fighting the issue. In Mayo's statement, they comment that they anticipate the NLRB will dismiss the SEIU's claims.