Contact: Rick Fuentes
(Duluth) – June 17, 2017 – MNA nurses at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth ratified a new contract on June 16.
Nurses voted for a three-year contract that includes wage increases, improvements to retirement benefits, and incentives to ensure enough nurses are scheduled to provide safe patient care.
“We negotiated a fair contract that recognizes the important work nurses do,” MNA St. Luke’s Bargaining Unit Chair Cindy Prout said. “We hope Essentia Health will join St. Luke’s in agreeing to a fair contract for its RNs.”
Essentia Health is trying to force MNA nurses at its hospitals in Duluth and Superior into inferior corporate health insurance plans that would dramatically increase healthcare expenses for nurses and their families without offsetting those costs.
Essentia has not explained why the changes are needed; and like Allina Health in the Twin Cities, is financially healthy and has not shown where the savings would go.
MNA nurses are planning an Unfair Labor Practice strike at the five metro Allina facilities June 19-26 over the corporation’s attempts to dismantle nurses’ affordable health insurance and other issues.
“Nurses are the front-line professionals providing care to patients when they need it the most,” Prout said. “Nurses at Allina Health in the Twin Cities are planning to strike over the same issue. St. Luke’s nurses stand with Essentia and Allina RNs as they stand up to big corporations just adding to their bottom lines.”Prout added that St. Luke’s is one of the few independent hospital systems in Minnesota and has fewer resources than large corporations like Allina and Essentia, but was willing to make compromises on key economic issues.