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BMS hearing on health, human services petitions is next week

February 12, 2011
Marshall Independent

Petitions filed against a consolidated area health and human services agency will be getting a hearing before representatives of the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services next week.

The BMS posted notice this week of a hearing on petitions for clarification of an appropriate bargaining unit, for Wednesday morning at the Lyon County Government Center.

The petitions were filed in November by Council 65 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. One petition asked that the BMS determine AFSCME is the representative of employees at Southwest Health and Human Services, and the other asked that the BMS find SHHS was the alter ego of Lincoln, Lyon and Murray Human Services and Lincoln, Lyon, Murray and Pipestone Public Health.

In addition to the filing the BMS petitions, AFSCME also filed suit against SHHS in December, alleging that the merger of area human services and public health agencies into SHHS violated state labor laws, and that administration of the agencies refused to recognize existing labor agreements with AFSCME. A district court judge ordered a temporary injunction, which prevents SWHHS from terminating employees without good cause, or cashing out employee benefits.

Wednesday's hearing will be conducted by the BMS, and while the hearing is not part of litigation against SHHS in Lyon County District Court, it involves similar concerns about employee representation. The hearing is open to the public.

The temporary injunction is still in place against SHHS. The combined agency replaced both LLMHS and LLMPPS at the start of 2011.

- Deb Gau



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