Contact: Rick Fuentes
(St. Paul) – June 15, 2019 – Nurses represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract with Children’s Hospitals of Minnesota and withdrew the threat of a nurses’ strike at the hospitals.
The nurses’ and the hospital’s negotiations teams met over a 21-hour session and cooperated to jointly address issues, including the cost of health insurance for MNA nurses.
“Nurses are happy that Children’s recognized that the cost of insurance is a concern that affects the hospital’s competitiveness of attracting and retaining nurses,” said Michelle Cotterell, a sedation nurse at Children’s Minneapolis campus. “Nurses will work with hospital management to address the rising costs of insurance together,” Cotterell said.
Before taking a strike vote, Children’s negotiators ignored the nurse’s proposals around health insurance. After authorizing a strike, the hospital agreed to cap the rate of increase of the most comprehensive insurance plan to match the increase the employer must pay. No longer will nurses pay more of rate hikes than the hospital does. Additionally, for the second-tier plan, Children’s agreed to pay 70 percent of the dollar increase in rates while nurses would pay 30 percent.
“Nurses cannot shoulder more of the rising cost of insurance than the hospital bears,” said Sydney Pederson, a sedation nurse at Children’s St. Paul.
The hospital agreed to provide Children’s nurses with the largest wage increases they have seen in a decade to help them catch up with the cost of living. Nurses will receive raises of 3%/3%/2.25% for 2019, 2020, 2021, respectively.
The agreement also includes more flexibility for employees to use education money. While MNA nurses voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, this agreement cancels that vote. They will now vote to ratify this agreement on Thursday, June 20.