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Healthcare workers at Minnesota Epilepsy Group begin 5-day strike

By staff

MEG workers stand strong on the picket line.

Minneapolis, MN – At 6:30 a.m., March 14, around 100 workers at Minnesota Epilepsy Group (MEG) walked off the job and began a five-day Unfair Labor Practice strike. The striking workers are EEG technologists and EEG associates – union members represented by SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. When on the job, the MEG workers perform Electroencephalogram (EEG) tests to detect abnormalities in people’s brain waves and electrical activity in the brain.

At the beginning of negotiating their next union contract management had signaled that they were looking to get a deal done and bargain in in good faith with the union members. However later on when bargaining was well underway, management took a drastic turn in their approach, proposing to eliminate longevity step increases moving forward for all MEG employees, creating a two-tier system where new employees coming on would not ever move from their initial pay rate, even if they worked at MEG for 30 or more years. The employer is also offering a wage increase of only .75%.

While many of the current MEG employees are at the top of the scale, the union members see that this is an attack on their union and on their coworkers. At that point they decided it was time to fight back against the employer’s attack on their union contract. They decided it was time to strike. The held a vote and by a unanimous vote they authorized a strike.

The strike is being held throughout the week of March 14 through March 18, with picket lines at various times across three locations. Picket lines are being held on sidewalks in front of Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis and United Hospital in Saint Paul. While the strike is not against those hospitals, MEG is a service provider to Allina Health and the workers perform services out of those locations. The union members are also picketing in Roseville where the MEG office is located.

Renee David is an EEG Technologist at MEG and she said, “We had a 100% member vote to strike. We decided it was time to stand up for ourselves and get something we deserve. We are standing up against the extremely low wage offer we received. After a really long stretch of being at work in the pandemic climate, we are just not ready to settle for .75%. The employer wants to abolish our extremely long-standing system where is has a built-in longevity wage increase, so if that goes away then everyone would be stuck at zero. It wouldn’t matter how long how long you would be here, you would essentially be making the same wage as when someone walks in the door. This is important for the future of anybody who comes in here, it is important for the people who are here now want to stay, and just getting rid of a system that has been in place for so long that is a benefit to us, just seems silly. Why would we give that up?”

David continued, “We are not out here asking for a lot. We are just another group of healthcare workers who are standing up to a system that has burnt us out. We’re not only standing up for our department, we are standing up for EEG technologists all around the nation and for anyone who works in healthcare.”

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