FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(St. Paul) – October 14, 2021 – Nurse members of the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) at Allina’s WestHealth campus in Plymouth, Minn. will go on strike from Sunday, October 17 through Wednesday, October 20, 2021, as nurses seek a contract with Allina that provides fair pay and benefits to nurses on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sonya Worner, a Registered Nurse at WestHealth, said, “WestHealth nursing staff stayed the course during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, in its wake, Allina is refusing to make the necessary movement toward a fair contract. Allina admitted that it is not because they don’t have the money to fund the minor benefit increases we are asking for, but stated that our contract is ‘good enough.’”
MNA nurses have been negotiating a new contract for months, but Allina has refused to agree to fair pay for holiday work or adequate benefits. Compensating nurses fairly for holiday work is especially critical because understaffing by Allina and other hospital systems has required nurses to work more days and longer hours, including overtime and holidays, as they continue on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nurses at Allina WestHealth have worked tirelessly to provide critical, urgent care to Minnesotans in the facility’s Emergency Department throughout the pandemic. At a time when Minnesotans need emergency care the most, Allina Health would rather leave patients waiting than grant nurses holiday pay and benefits comparable to other Emergency Departments. Allina has acknowledged that they do not lack the revenue to fairly compensate nurses for their holiday hours but that they believe nurses, who have sacrificed so much over the last two years, do not deserve more.
A fair contract that provides adequate benefits and holiday pay will not only justly compensate the nurses currently working, but it is also essential to attract and retain new talent in the profession. While there is no shortage of nurses who want to work at the bedside, there is a shortage of nurses willing to work under current hospital conditions. A fair contract is an important first step toward ensuring a safe and welcoming workplace.
About the Strike
MNA nurses have been negotiating since May. On Wednesday, October 13, 2021, nurses met in a 90-minute session in a last attempt to reach an agreement, but Allina again refused to agree to fair holiday pay and benefits for nurses.
On October 6, 2021, an overwhelming majority of member nurses at WestHealth voted to authorize a strike. A supermajority of the membership must authorize a hospital strike. The decision to begin the strike and how long it will last is made by the elected nurse members of the negotiating committee.
The strike is planned to begin Sunday, October 17 at 7 a.m. and end Wednesday, October 20, 2021, at 7 a.m. While the strike is active, nurses will be on the picket line from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Allina WestHealth, 2855 Campus Dr, Plymouth, MN 55441.
Members of the press are welcome to visit the strike at any time. Please contact Sam Fettig (Sam.Fettig@mnnurses.org, 612-741-0662) if you plan to attend and would like to arrange an interview with an MNA nurse member.