We are still in continuous talks with both St. Luke’s and Essentia Health.  There are going to be more discussions to come.  To date, neither employer has agreed to rescind their vaccine mandation or delay the deadlines, but they are both offering medical and religious exemptions, that from what we’ve seen, appear to be following the EEOC guidelines.  We plan to continue discussions about what constitutes an exemption, requirements for remote workers and of course, the upcoming federal government mandation guidelines that will be published by the CDC. 

ESSENTIA & ST. LUKE'S: If you have filed a religious exemption to the vaccine mandate of either Essentia Health or St. Luke's, and it has been denied, we ask that you reach out to the union to discuss your appeals options. You can reach us at [email protected], or by sending us a direct message here on facebook.

In a very close vote, the new proposed Red Book contract at Essentia Health passed. We'd like to sincerely thank everyone that was able to come out and vote yesterday and today - especially those who offered feed back on the issues that concerned them. We are committed to continue to address all of those concerns going forward.

Essentia Health was unable to get the answers to our informational request on their COVID-19 vaccine mandate by Aug. 16. They are saying they will have it by Aug. 23. St. Luke's has yet to send us a written response to our informational request. We do have dates for both employers for when we will sit down and bargain over the mandate. For St. Luke's our meeting with the company will be August. 26. And for Essentia Health it will be Sept. 15.

The Professional Unit of Lake Superior Community Health Center voted unanimously to accept their new contract. Thanks to everyone who came out to vote! Contract negotiations for the Support Staff Unit of LSCHC will be starting up next. Stay tuned for an announcement about dates for that.

Attached is a PDF summary of the Red Book Tentative Agreement that the union and the company arrived at, including the proposed new wage grids.  We are also mailing these out to everyone, but feel free to download it here so as to be able to review it earlier.  We'll have complete word for word TAs available at the meetings.  This will be voted on by the Red Book membership on August 23 from 6am to 6:30pm and on August 24 from 6am to 7pm in the basement of the Duluth Labor Temple (2002 London Road).

We are going to be holding the Red Book ratification vote on August 23 and 24.  We had been hoping to hold the vote sooner, but we discovered some errors/unintended oversights in the tentative agreement that had to get resolved.

Next week we'll be able to mail out the summaries and post them online. Stay tuned!

Our union has sent in formal demands to bargain, as well as information requests, regarding the Covid-19 vaccine mandates that Essentia Health and St. Luke’s both announced on August.  Both employers have a deadline of August 16 to respond.

So far we do know that both employers will be providing a way for folks to seek medical or religious exemptions, but we don’t yet have a list of what would qualify someone for either.  However, it sounds like the process will be similar to the exemption process that both employers used  for the flu shot mandation.  For those looking for a medical exemption, it may be worthwhile to consult your physician now.