On Monday, Dec. 23, nearly 100 nurses and community supporters gathered in sub-zero weather determined to send a message of solidarity to Allina corporation. “We give first-rate care to our patients, and we don’t deserve to be treated like second-class citizens,” said nurse Linda Held.
Allina assumed ownership of Regina Medical Center in Hastings in the Fall 2013, but current contract negotiations have come up short on proposals to provide benefits that are equal to other Allina facilities, some just a short 20-minute drive away.
MNA has negotiated equitable insurance and pension benefits for nurses at Allina facilities in other cities beyond the metro area, such as Buffalo and Cambridge. The nurses in Hastings consider Allina management’s refusal to budge on similar packages for Regina Medical Center sends an ominous message about it’s commitment to the community.
The candlelight vigil was held from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. and drew a powerful combination of supporters, including a bi-partisan legislative contingent. GOP State Representative Denny McNamara and DFL Representative Dan Schoen both urged the nurses to stand strong for their demands. In addition, nurses from all over the metro along with representatives from several other unions were on site to support the Regina nurses. Bobby Kasper, from the St. Paul Labor Federation gave a rousing pep talk. expressing his admiration for the strength of the entire bargaining unit.
In conjunction with the vigil, the nurses demonstrated their own commitment to friends and neighbors by holding a food drive with contributions being directed to Hastings Family Services. Nurses collected at least a car full of goods and a hearty amount of financial donations.