Dr. Bernadeia Johnson shares what it was like to grow up in the segregated south and how our society faces some of the same issues today. Dr. Johnson served as Superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) from 2010-2015, overseeing a district of 35,000 students and 7,000 staff and working diligently to improve education outcomes and close […]
Content Sponsored By AFSCME Council 5
After a long contentious struggle to form a union, workers at Walker Methodist Health Center are fighting management again to keep their union — and at the same time try to negotiate for a living wage. A rare employer-initiated election to decertify the union will likely happen sometime in December.
“The boss is trying to take away all the rights that the workers have right now,” said Jennifer Mundt, Public Affairs Director, AFSCME Council 5, as she walked an information picket outside Walker’s long-term health care facility in south Minneapolis. “When we finally got a contract, the employer has been trying to renege on everything that protects the workers and their contract.”
The first union contract at Walker Methodist Health Center wasn’t easy. In 2003, the National Labor Relations Board had to intercede before management would agree to recognize the union.
“They organized and won an election and it took us six years to get this anti-union employer to get a first contract,” said Eliot Seide, AFSCME Council 5 Executive Director. “And now a decade later, this employer is still fighting the union. It still wants to break the union.”
A Sunday rally outside of Walker to support the union drew a crowd of about about 50 Walker union employees and members of other unions. Congressman Keith Ellison sent a letter of support that was read at the rally.
It’s extremely rare to have an employer-initiated election to decertify a union. NLRB statistics show only 14 elections happened nationwide in 2014. The NLRB says Walker submitted an RM Petition to decertify the union in June offering evidence that a majority of employees no longer supported the union. Union organizers say that’s not true.
“The employees gave management a petition with an overwhelming majority of the workers said stop this decertification. And the employer refused to do it,” said Seide.
The union was able to delay the decertification vote when it filed an NLRB complaint saying Walker had interfered with the union’s right of access to the workplace. The NLRB found the union’s complaint had merit and ordered Walker to comply with its union contract and allow access. NLRB Regional Director for Region 18 Marlin Osthus says that assuming Walker is found to be in compliance, the decertification election will probably happen in mid-December.
The pending election comes just as the union and management are scheduled to begin negotiating new contracts.
Living Wage Issue For New Contract
Michelle Gross says what Minneapolis police did at the shooting scene will prevent the state and federal investigators from gathering all of the eyewitness accounts.
Peggy Flanagan joined Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota as its executive director in 2013. A citizen of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe, Peggy was the first Native American and youngest person ever elected to serve on the Minneapolis Board of Education (2005-2009). She co-chairs Mayor Betsy Hodges’ Cradle to K Cabinet and has served on Governor […]