About one-tenth of the population of a northern Minnesota town now belongs to MNA.
Nearly 100 employees at LakeWood Health Center in Baudette (population 1,080) voted last week in favor of contract representation by the MNA.
The successful vote was the result of a determined effort by workers who wanted to advocate more strongly for patients and employees. The new bargaining unit will represent most non-management employees.
“We kept having more duties and more work to do as they outsourced and cut,” said RN Bonnie Harness. “We were really upset. LakeWood needed to work with us but they didn’t want to.”
A group of LakeWood employees contacted MNA in January and the campaign to organize began.
“Our main goal was to have a voice, stand up for what we believe in, and to help protect our employees and patients we serve,” said McCall Plourde, an X-ray technician. “We really hope management will negotiate in good faith so we can get our first contract in place.”
“It got really ugly,” said LPN Susie Larson. “The more nasty stuff that management did, the less it helped them.”
“It was a long haul,” said Terri Poppitz, an Environmental Services employee. “We’re a group now and it feels good.”
Members all agree the campaign brought employees together.
“It’s been something to see all of us working together as a team,” said Harness. “Everyone got on board for the common good. It shows what a group of people can do when they work together.”
“LakeWood is a better place because of the union,” said Poppitz. “We’re here for the entire community – patients and residents come first. It’s about patient care and patient services.”
The next step for the new unit is to negotiate a first contract.
“We’re looking forward to working with LakeWood to negotiate a fair contract that benefits workers, patients and the entire community,” said Katie Lavasseur, a CNA.