Allina Health nurses taking other jobs during strike

A solid week into their second strike in the past three months and already some Allina Health nurses are starting to seek greener pastures.

Some nurses have chosen to leave Allina altogether. Others have secured part time work in and outside of healthcare, if only until negotiations between the Minnesota Nurses Association and Allina Health officials yield real results.

“There a lot of nurses who said ‘I can’t work for Allina anymore. I don’t feel valued anymore. I don’t feel like I’m being listened to,’” said Angela Becchetti, a registered nurse at Abbott Northwestern.

Becchetti is also a member of the negotiating team.

“None of us expected to go on this long,” Becchetti said of the now seven-month-long negotiating process.
What initially began predominantly as a battle over insurance plans, has now turned into the nurses’ fight for improved security and training personnel.

In a statement to Fox 9, David Kanihan, Allina Health’s Vice President said, “We want to thank the 440 permanent nurses who have decided to continue to work, rather than walk away from care. Each day, as more nurses return to the bedside care of patients, it is increasingly clear that a significant and growing number of nurses are rejecting this strike as a method to resolve our labor dispute.”

Although, the MNA disputes the number of nurses Allina claims are against the strike. Union representatives tell Fox 9 approximately 1,500 nurses walk the picket line every day.

Both Allina and the nurses have agreed on some changes to hiring, scheduling, tuition reimbursement and general security.

“It took seven months to get a security guard in the ER. That is too long,” Becchetti said.
In the spirit of compromise, nurses proposed they would transition to Allina’s health insurance plans by 2020 – if Allina meets their needs.

Until then, the stalemate has forced nurses to either get creative or apply for positions with other healthcare systems and networks.

“They’re working for Uber, they’re going to Target, they’re doing just various tasks not even nursing-related to get through this,” Becchetti said.

“I found a job at Accurate Homecare, I’m excited to start,” said Kevin Peterson, a registered nurse at Abbott Northwestern who walks the picket line. “I see no reason for me to cross the line you know because I have employment.”

Peterson encourages other nurses to do the same, at least to get by, in the meantime.