Minneapolis (Feb. 8) – Therapists at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis voted overwhelmingly today to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. With over 84% support in the election, they become one of the first groups of hospital-based therapists in Minnesota to form their union, and their election is the first organizing win of 2022 for healthcare workers in Minnesota following the wave of over 800 workers joining SEIU Healthcare Minnesota in the final months of 2021.
The bargaining unit consists of over 100 workers who do jobs such as Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Language Pathology in both in-patient and outpatient settings. The votes were counted Tuesday afternoon at the National Labor Relations Board following a two-week mail ballot election.
Meredith Hintz, an Acute Care Physical Therapist for nearly 20 years at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, shared her excitement over the historic union election:
“I am so proud that our group voted to become one of the first hospital-based therapists in Minnesota to form our union. Every day we work hard to make sure people are able to go home and live their lives, but we’re tired of the fact that the only people making decisions about our work are executives who may have never worked with patients. Winning our union is a huge step that allows us to have a voice in making important decisions that impact ourselves and our patients. This has been a long fight. Over the last few years we’ve seen our pay and benefits go backwards even as healthcare revenue and patient demands have gone up. We work so hard and we’re excited to have our union. We finally have a say in these critical conversations.”
Jeanie Garcia, an Inpatient Rehab Occupational Therapist who has worked at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute for 12 years, shared her thoughts on the victory:
“Our decision to unionize varies per individual, but we have decided to become united as a group to better our therapy professions. I voted ‘Yes’ because I have seen how Allina treats their contract and non contract employees very differently during the past two years of a pandemic. Without a contract we do not have protection against work exposures such as COVID-19. As a therapy team we use our skills to help COVID survivors from early mobilization in the ICU to working on skills to promote independence and strength to go home. As a therapy team we are placed in high exposure risk situations, and deserve to have the same protections for workplace exposure.”
From Labor Day until the end of 2021, eight groups totalling over 800 healthcare workers voted to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota to win better patient care, safer working conditions and more respect from their employers.
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota unites nearly 50,000 healthcare and long-term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care throughout the state of Minnesota.