ROCHESTER, Minn. – Now that Mayo Clinic has announced its plans to officially sign a contract with Morrison Healthcare and transition nearly 700 dietary workers to the new company, Mayo officials and members of the union representing some of those workers have been meeting to discuss the transition.
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota’s president Jamie Gulley says that Mayo informed the union this week that the job offers and wages with Morrison would be contingent on SEIU withdrawing a grievance they filed in July concerning a possible conflict of interest between a Mayo executive and Morrison employee. Gulley says they are “outraged” since for months Mayo had made promises that union employees would be offered positions and current pay rates with Morrison.
“Outraged that they would want to use our jobs as a bargaining chip to sweep under the rug the grievances that we have filed about a potential conflict of interest with the former Mayo dietary leader who primarily influenced this decision,” Gulley tells us. “So it’s just very disappointing — we really expected better from Mayo today.”
In response, a Mayo Clinic spokesperson told us that they have thoroughly explored the allegations and found no evidence to substantiate them.
“Mayo Clinic did propose that the union drop their baseless grievance alleging a conflict of interested a Mayo cover-up,” the statement says in part.
However, Gulley tells us that SEIU has no plans of withdrawing the complaint.
“For the past several months, Mayo has refused to meet with us about the grievance — and actually last week we filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board asking them to require Mayo to meet with us on this complaint. We deserve a hearing on it at least and we intend to get that,” he adds.
Mayo Clinic’s full statement is below:
“Mayo Clinic has been negotiating in good faith with the unions that together represent approximately one-third of Mayo’s food service workers. We respect the bargaining process and will continue to negotiate in good faith. Last week, for the first time, SEIU indicated acceptance of the decision to transition food service operations to Morrison Healthcare and offered a proposal regarding the effects of the decision. This week, we gave our first non-comprehensive counter-proposal in response to the union’s proposal last week, recognizing we are still early in the negotiation process.
Mayo Clinic did propose that the union drop their baseless grievance alleging a conflict of interest and a Mayo cover-up. In response to the SEIU grievance, Mayo Clinic thoroughly explored the allegations involving a Mayo administrator and found no evidence to substantiate the union’s allegations. We have repeatedly asked SEIU to provide evidence of this claim, and the union has refused. If SEIU cannot provide evidence for making such a public and egregious claim against a private individual, this false allegation should not be part of our negotiating process.
Mayo Clinic has dedicated more than two years to finding the best food service solution for our patients and their families. A team gathered input from stakeholders across the organization, reviewed options, requested proposals and evaluated potential vendors.
While we are proud of our hard working food service staff, our current food service model is not meeting the needs of our patients, and our patient satisfaction surveys frequently cite food service as an area for improvement. Mayo Clinic is not a culinary expert, and we need a best-in-class partner to refresh and reinvigorate our food offerings and help bring more clarity and accountability to our food service operations. Our patients and customers expect and deserve better.
While we believe that this decision is in the best interests of patients, we also knew it would be a disappointment to Mayo Clinic food service staff. They’re part of our family, and they work hard every day to serve our patients and staff.
We’ve taken great care to ensure that job security is preserved throughout the transition. The transition package we have offered to employees is by all accounts one of the most generous in the food service industry. That package is available immediately to non-union employees, and through contract negotiations it can be available to the employees represented by unions as well.
Additional information about the need for this change and the benefits being offered food service employees can be found atfoodservicefacts.mayoclinic.org.”
Jamie Gulley’s full statement:
“Just when we think that Mayo can’t disrespect the hundreds of workers and their families any more than they already have, they pull this incredibly offensive stunt and go back on months of public statements. We are trying to move forward to find a solution that maintains the high standards for food service at Mayo, but it is hard to do when Mayo seems more concerned with covering their tracks and keeping information from the public that may shine a negative light on how this controversial decision came to be,” said Gulley. “We are unwavering in our belief that Mayo can keep their word and be held to basic standards on both worker fairness and public transparency. Mayo can, and must, ensure food service workers and the patients are treated with the fairness and dignity they deserve. There is no reason this should come at the cost of Mayo sharing the truth about what happened in this process as they are required to do through our contract. The fact that they are pitting transparency versus promises they made to treat their dedicated workers fairly as an either/or is a shame and will not be tolerated.”