Why one Minnesota nurse plans to cross the picket line again

- As hundreds of nurses and various unions gathered near Abbott Northwestern Hospital to rally support, they come with a clear message for Allina Health.

“You have gone too far this time,” said Congressman Keith Ellison. “You are messing with our nurses and we are not going to let you get away with it.”

Meanwhile, Michelle Dabrowski prepares to once again cross the picket line at the United Mother Baby Center. In June, during the one-week strike she worked 70 hours in 7 days alongside temporary nurses Allina brought in from out of state.

“It was very bumpy the first few days with people just learning where things are,” said Dabrowski. “But by the end of the week they were working together like a well-oiled machine.”

For Dabrowski, choosing not to strike has been a difficult decision. Financially for her family, she can't afford not to work, but says her relationships with co-workers have suffered the most.

“Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) makes it difficult for union members to establish relationships with their managers,” said Dabrowski. “They'll even encourage nurses to not have casual conversations in the hallways because those managers are out to get you.”
               
For others, even the daunting possibility an open-ended strike could go on and on, the sticking points of healthcare, staffing, and work place violence prevention are too big to let slide.

“Safety is huge concern especially in the emergency department,” said Kelly Nash, emergency nurse at Unity hospital. “Having security there is very important. I would like to see that in the contract.”

“I feel like we could have made some headway in staffing and patient safety issue,” said Dabrowski. “If we were willing to discuss a transition to the same insurance that everybody else has.”

Everyone hopes negations will make some progress on Friday, if not, the strike is set to go on as long as it takes.

“If they want to come back at us by tearing apart our union, by tearing apart our contract, taking out the words 'no diminishment of benefits' in our contract and taking away our control of benefits, we are going to have a problem,” said Mary Turner, MNA President.

Allina Health released the following statement:

"Allina Health looks forward to Friday’s bargaining session. We believe a strike can be averted if the union comes to the table on Friday ready to respond to our most recent compromise proposal. Whatever the outcome of Friday’s session, our first priority is providing high quality care to our communities. We believe our permanent 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."
 


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