Three labor unions are distributing flyers at the Minnesota Capitol saying they oppose a plan to provide taxpayer funding for improvements in Rochester related to the Mayo Clinic’s expansion unless “key questions” are answered.
The hospitality union UNITEHERE!, the Minnesota Nurses Association and SEIU Healthcare say they will oppose the Destination Medical Center (DMC) plan until Mayo Clinic and Rochester officials provide more details.
“We ask the legislature to OPPOSE providing any tax payer money to the DMC until Mayo answers key questions about the impact this proposal will have on our jobs, our homes and our communities,” the flyer said.
The plan put forward by the clinic and its supporters asks for more than $500 million in state funding over the next two decades to help Rochester support the Mayo Clinic’s proposed expansion. The clinic says it plans to spend $3 billion expanding its Rochester campus but wants the state subsidy to build roads, bridges, parking garages and other amenities around the expansion.
The unions want to know specifics about where the DMC will be built, how many jobs created will be union jobs, what the impact will be on other health care and hospitality employers in Minnesota, what Mayo’s commitment to low income patients in Minnesota will be, and whether Mayo will commit to “labor peace agreements” with the workers and unions that represent them.
The flyer sets up another hurdle for Mayo’s lobbyists as they push for the state subsidy. The chairwoman of the House Taxes Committee has already said she doesn’t like Mayo’s plan to tap future income, sales and property taxes to pay for the projects in Rochester. She said she wants to see Rochester and Olmsted County kick in more money to finance the local construction projects.
The flyer put forward by the three unions also shows that there is a division among organized labor over Mayo’s plan. The Minnesota State Building & Construction Trades Council is backing Mayo’s plan and actively lobbying for the state subsidy.
Here’s the flyer.