MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A group of workers who say they were locked out of the Mayo Clinic in Albert Lea after a one-day strike are set to return to work Tuesday.

About 80 workers went on strike last Tuesday. SEIU Healthcare Minnesota says the strike was over changes Mayo wants to make that would undermine good jobs in Albert Lea, and that the hospital continues to demand the ability to subcontract these jobs. Workers say they have been working without a contract for years.

The union said when workers returned to work Wednesday at 6 a.m., they were blocked from entering by Mayo management and security.

Mayo released a statement Wednesday, saying in part:

“SEIU leadership continues to put its own agenda ahead of the well-being of their members, our hardworking employees. By deliberately setting a strike date during Christmas week, they have subjected our employees to needless anxiety and lost wages.

“As noted in numerous news reports, Mayo repeatedly communicated to SEIU leaders and members that we would fulfill our primary obligation to provide uninterrupted patient care by bringing in highly skilled replacement workers, with whom we have a one-week contractual commitment. General contract workers who chose to strike on Dec. 19 were fully aware they would not be allowed to return to work until Dec. 26.”

The two sides will resume negotiations Thursday.

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