Mayo Clinic union workers picket, asking for higher wages

Push for Higher Wages, Better Plans at Mayo Clinic

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(ABC 6 News) – Mayo Clinic members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) held an informational picket calling for higher wages and a plan to fix staffing shortages at the Rochester Methodist Campus Wednesday.

SEIU members took to the streets of downtown Rochester to tell the public how they feel.

“Mayo is number one, I think they should pay their employees as number one,” said Chelsey Rynerson, a member of the SEIU bargaining team.

The union has been negotiating with Mayo leaders for one month, and says their frustrations grow as Mayo’s offers aren’t anywhere close to what ask for.

“Refusing to pay just a livable wage to the people who work here and are actually taking care of the patients and making Mayo the number one hospital,” said Hallie Wallace, SEIU lead negotiator.

Mayo Clinic offered union workers at the Methodist campus a 3.5% wage increase, compared to a 4% increase for non-union workers.

SEIU members say this increase isn’t enough for them to pay their bills.

“So many people can’t even afford to live in Rochester anymore cause the cost of living has skyrocketed so much,” said Wallace.

Union members are calling for a $20 minimum wage for all workers, proportional wage increases and market adjustments for workers being paid less than their counterparts in the twin cities.

“The certification bump is like 50 cents, or 56 cents I should say for your low end, 78 [cents] for the high end, and it just really isn’t a motivation or an incentive to stay,” said Rynerson.

With critical staffing shortages workers are calling unsafe, union members say the way to get people to stay in these jobs is to pay them better.

“We have a huge shortage in a lot of our areas. Without them there would be no hospital, there would be no Mayo Clinic,” said Wallace.

SEIU members are hoping this picket will make Mayo Clinic leaders realize they won’t give up until they get what they want.

In response to the union’s picket, Mayo Clinic provided ABC 6 with a statement saying:

“Mayo Clinic has an unwavering commitment to staff. We are currently in contract discussions with employee groups represented by the SEIU on our Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Methodist Campus and have been negotiating in good faith. We are optimistic we will reach a contract agreement acceptable to all parties and will continue working hard toward that end.”

SEIU bargainers are set to meet with Mayo Clinic leaders again Tuesday, and are hopeful to finally reach an agreement.