Non-union Mayo food service workers vote to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota

Published 9:56 am Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A group of Mayo food service workers currently employed by Sodexo recently voted to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. The vote was conducted over three shifts starting at 6 am and running until 4:30 p.m. According to a press release, 89 percent of the votes were to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, with 74 percent of eligible voters taking part in the election.

Wes Keck, a Sodexo food service employee who has worked at Mayo for 17 years, shared why workers are so excited to have won a voice on the job by joining SEIU.

“It is clear from the overwhelming ‘yes’ vote that we are ready to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and have a unified voice in the fight to make sure food service jobs stay good jobs,” Keck said. “Many of us have dedicated 10, 15, 20 years to this job, and with all of the changes being proposed by Mayo, it will be good to know that we will now have a seat at the table moving forward. We are excited to be joining together with hundreds of other food service workers who have been standing up and fighting back for what is best for food service workers, our families, and our community.”

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Barb Andrew, a 15-year Sodexo employee at Mayo, echoed Keck’s comments as the Sodexo food service workers celebrated their ‘yes’ vote.

“It was hard when Mayo rolled out their plan and we didn’t feel like we had a voice, but we’ve changed that today. We plan on continuing our work to hold Mayo to their promises that our jobs, which are critically important to patients, guests and community members, continue to be jobs that reflect the value and dedication we bring to our work,” Andrew said. “We know it won’t be easy, but we now have a shared voice so that we can fight to make sure the hundreds of families facing the continued fallout from Mayo’s decision can move forward, not backward.”

Jennifer Norgran, a Mayo food service worker and current member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, shared excitement that the power of food service workers in Rochester will be growing following the vote.

“The SEIU food service workers at Mayo have been fighting to keep good jobs in Rochester, and we are excited to have the Sodexo food service workers join us as members of SEIU so that we can all be stronger together as we move forward!” she said.

The vote comes as Mayo is moving forward with their controversial plan to outsource 700 food service workers in Minnesota to Morrison, a move that has been met with fierce resistance from workers, Rochester community members and elected officials.

First bargaining dates between Sodexo and SEIU will be scheduled in the coming weeks.