(KMSP) - Representatives with the Minnesota Nurses Association and Allina Health met late into the evening Friday as part of negotiations aimed at averting a strike. Nearly 5,000 nurses are set to walk off the job on Labor Day, unless an agreement is reached.
The primary issues raised by the nurses are health insurance, staffing and workplace safety.
Patients who were treated at Allina Health facilities during the weeklong strike in June reported some bumpy experiences.
“I didn’t realize at the time how inadequate my care was at the time until I heard other people’s stories,” said Ashley Appelhof, a mother from Mankato, Minn. who delivered her son, Daniel, during the first strike. “And now that I know how bad it actually was, I would not want any mom to go through that.”
For Lisa Stumphf, the strike caused the birth of her son Griffin to be a chaotic experience. She said replacement nurses were training while she was in labor.
“They're like tapping on the computer while I'm laboring,” Stumphf said. “ I had to ask them to leave. I'm like they need to go so I can do what I'm doing.”
In response to those concerns, Allina Health officials say things should be much smoother if nurses go on strike this time. Roughly 1,500 replacement nurses are arriving this weekend ahead of a possible strike and will undergo training.
“Of the 1,500 or so that we are bringing in, about 50 percent are the same people who came in June,” said David Kanihan, an Allina Health spokesperson. “So we have a good number who are already familiar with our facilities and how everything works. And I think we can expect it to go pretty smoothly.”
Nurses will have to vote over the weekend to call off the strike. Unlike June’s strike, the length of time would be undetermined.