Nurses at another Mayo hospital vote to remove union

It may not be as contagious as Covid, but for the second time in as many weeks nurses at a Mayo hospital in southern Minnesota have voted to end union representation in their workplace. The latest decertification vote held under the auspices of the National Labor Relations Board at the St. James Mayo hospital wasn’t close with nurses deciding 15-2 to toss out the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

Word of the lopsided decision came in a news release from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund that assisted the St. James nurses in making their case.

The workers’ decertification petition was filed by registered nurse Heather Youngwirth with the NLRB Region 18 office in Minneapolis, MN with free legal representation from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys. The vote on whether to end AFSCME union officials’ monopoly bargaining powers at the Mayo Clinic was 15-2 in favor of decertification of AFSCME, with the Labor Board’s official tally happening last week.

Minnesota is not a Right to Work state, meaning workers can be forced to pay dues or fees to union officials as a condition of keeping their jobs. Because the workers’ decertification vote was successful, AFSCME union officials are stripped of their monopoly “representation” powers, including the ability to impose a forced dues requirement on the nurses in the bargaining unit.

Last week a majority of a much larger bargaining unit of more than 400 nurses at the Mayo hospital in Mankato also voted to end their union representation by the Minnesota Nurses Association. Meantime, dozens of employees at two bargaining units of the Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in north central Minnesota have filed for decertification votes, as well.

“While these nurses have successfully removed a union they oppose, we should not lose sight that thousands of Minnesota workers are forced to pay union dues, not because they voluntarily choose to, but because they would be fired if they don’t pay up,” commented National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix. “It is past time Minnesota joins all of its neighboring states and ensure Minnesota workers have Right to Work protections so all workers can decide for themselves whether to financially support union activities.”

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has a history of involvement in Minnesota, including a role in supporting the child care providers who overwhelmingly defeated an attempt to form a statewide union in 2016.