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Mayo's food staff could receive 7.5% raises

After six months of negotiations, the Morrison Coalition of Unions, which represents 600 food service staffers who work on Mayo Clinic campuses, has announced a “tentative agreement” with Morrison Healthcare. Mayo Clinic contracts with Morrison to provide food service staffing.

Food Service Workers Picket
Food service workers employed by Morrison Healthcare who work at various Mayo Clinic facilities took part in an "information picket" outside Mayo Clinic Aug. 25, 2022, in downtown Rochester. The unions announced this week that a “tentative agreement” has been reached.
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ROCHESTER — Unions representing 600 food service staffers who work on Mayo Clinic campuses announced a tentative contract agreement that includes a minimum 7.5% raise.

After six months of negotiations, the Morrison Coalition of Unions announced that a “tentative agreement” has been reached with Morrison Healthcare. Mayo Clinic contracts with Morrison Healthcare to provide food service staffing on many of its Minnesota campuses.

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The Morrison Coalition of Unions includes 500 SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members along with 100 members from Teamsters 120 and AFSCME Council 65.

The food service workers transitioned in 2017 from being Mayo Clinic employees to working for Georgia-based Morrison Healthcare, which contracts with Mayo Clinic to provide food services. The five-year labor contract the unions signed in 2017 expired at the end of June.

This agreement came in the wake of an information picket in front of Mayo Clinic in downtown Rochester in August, when the union members protested about the then-stalled negotiations.

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Mayo Clinic referred any questions about the tentative agreement to Morrison, the food service workers' direct employer. When asked for comment, Morrison Communications Director Caitlin O'Shea responded with a statement from the company.

“Today’s tentative agreement in support of our valued employees reflects the spirit of our partnership with SEIU, AFSCME, and Teamsters, and a shared commitment to serve the Mayo Clinic community," according to the statement. "We have a long history of listening to our employees and working productively with unions across the country and while the ratification process is underway, this collaborative effort has been focused on supporting our people.”

The proposed five-year contract still needs to be approved by members. The unions representing the workers hammered out a deal that includes:

  • A minimum 7.5% raise on top of the 2.5% raise in July. That raise will be retroactively paid back to July 1, 2022.
  • Future raises between 2.5% and 3%, which add up to an additional 10.5% over the term of the five-year contract.
  • Higher paid time off accrual rates for longtime employees.
  • The agreement calls for PTO accruals to begin on an employee’s first day of work and new cash-out options will start next spring.
  • The agreement preserved the union members’ health insurance or retirement plans with Morrison paying the majority of the costs.

The agreement announcement from SEIU estimates that members could see as much as $5 increase in pay by the end of the agreement. Employees who work at Mayo Clinic’s regional facilities may receive up to 12.5% pay increases based on location. Those hikes are designed to move regional pay closer to parity with Rochester workers’ wages.

In the announcement from the coalition, union members commented on the tentative agreement.

“The Coalition fought hard standing up for the workers who provided meals for patients, staff, and family, throughout the pandemic,” stated Amanda Whitmore, who is a cook at Mayo Clinic’s Fairmont facility. “This contract provides fair wages, benefits and language that supports us.”

Leslie Kaup, who has worked as a cook at Albert Lea Mayo Clinic for eight years, also offered thoughts on the contract.

“This contract is a step in the right direction,” stated Kaup. “It’s been a long few years dealing with COVID and we still have work to do to make sure these important jobs are respected the way they should be. We continue to face short staffing and we hope some of these changes will help address these issues so we can provide world-class care for our patients.”

Related Topics: ROCHESTERMAYO CLINICNEWSMD
Jeff Kiger writes a daily column, "Heard Around Rochester," in addition to writing articles about local businesses, Mayo Clinic, IBM, Hormel Foods, Crenlo and others. The opinions of my employer do not necessarily reflect my opinions. He has worked in Rochester for the Post Bulletin since 1999. Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.
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