Mayo Clinic Austin medical workers oust Steelworkers union

Photo: Brittany Burgess via Post Bulletin

After a years long battle with medical workers weary of union representation, the United Steelworkers has quietly pulled out of Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin with hardly a whimper, much less a bang. In the process, union officials placed the blame on workers who just don’t get it.

“We believe that many of the workers at Mayo were misled by a pro-corporate organization that does not have their best interests at heart,” said USW District 11 Director Cathy Drummond. “Should in the future these workers want to once again enjoy a seat at the table with their employer, they are always welcome in our union.”

Back in December 2022, licensed practical nurses, medical specialists and assistants at Mayo Clinic Austin voted 49-17 to bar the Steelworkers from withholding union dues. But due to National Labor Relations Board rules, employees had to wait another year for the union contract to expire before getting an opportunity to vote on expelling the union altogether. Nevertheless, the leader of the decertification drive vowed to finish the job at the first opportunity.

“We plan to decertify come next December when our contract is up and we are ready for another fight,” said patient care specialist Erin Krulish at the time.

After collecting signatures from a majority of her colleagues earlier this month, Krulish petitioned the NLRB to conduct a union decertification election. As a result, the Austin Daily Herald observed the union effectively conceded defeat before an election could take place.

While Krulish submitted a valid petition backed by the majority of her coworkers asking the NLRB to administer a vote to remove the Steelworkers union, the union’s announcement came before any vote was held.

“We’re happy that Ms. Krulish and her fellow support staff at the Austin Mayo Clinic are finally free of a Steelworkers union they’ve opposed for some time,” said National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix Friday. “While this result is good, the case is another example of a union hierarchy that manipulated its government-granted powers to stick around in a workplace despite clear evidence employees wanted them removed.”

The National Right to Work Foundation has successfully supported hundreds of workers in their efforts to forgo union representation at five Mayo Health System hospitals.