The Minnesota Nurses Association, the union representing nearly 5,000 nurses at 5 Allina Health hospitals in the Twin Cities, has scheduled a Labor Day strike that will begin at 7 a.m. The union is required to give at least 10 days of notice of an intent to strike to allow the hospital system enough time to plan for patient care.
This would be the second strike by Allina nurses since negotiations began in February. The nurses held a one-week strike in June, but the strike set for Labor Day would be open-ended.
The main sticking points continue to be health care and work place safety. Nurses want increased safety training and workplace protection along with the ability to keep the health care plan in their current agreement. Allina, meanwhile, wants to move nurses to a new plan that would save them an estimated $10 million a year.
Hospitals affected by the possible strike are Abbott Northwestern, Mercy, Phillips Eye Institute, United, and Unity.
Allina: 'We hope it doesn't come to that'
Allina Health released the following statement after receiving the nurses' strike notice:
"Today, the nurses’ union chose the path of walking away from patient care instead of working to find a reasonable solution to the health insurance issues at the center of this contract dispute. The union’s actions bring us no closer to a settlement and do a disservice not only to nurses but to all Allina Health employees and, most importantly, to our patients.
"Allina Health continues to offer a fair compromise by agreeing to retain the two most popular nurse-only health insurance plans for existing nurses, while capping the ongoing cost increases of those plans for Allina Health. We believe this compromise can form the basis of a settlement if the union will come to the table ready to discuss it.
"It is now abundantly clear the union’s first priority is staging another strike, not reaching a solution.
Allina Health’s first priority is providing high-quality care to our communities. We believe our nurses are equally committed to care, but if they choose to walk off the job, we will take the steps necessary to continue that commitment to care.
"We hope it doesn’t come to that. There is still time to reach a settlement and avoid another strike. Our communities deserve nothing less."