Contact: Rick Fuentes
(St. Paul) – June 6, 2016 – Nurses represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association voted overwhelmingly to reject the latest offer by Allina Health and authorize the negotiating team to call a strike in the coming weeks.
Since February, the owner of Abbott Northwestern/Phillips Eye Institute, Mercy, United, and Unity hospitals has continued to make the same proposal to take away nurses’ affordable health plans and move them to corporate plans with big out-of-pocket costs for employees.
“Nurses know what’s at stake. Nurses are prepared. We have to be advocates for our practice, our patients, and for ourselves and our family,” said Angela Becchetti, Registered Nurse at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.
Nurses at all four hospitals voted by overwhelming majority to reject the contract offer and tell Allina to return to the bargaining table. Nurses at all four hospitals also voted by more than a 66 percent super majority to reject the contract and authorize the negotiating committee to call a strike. MNA must give the employer a 10-day notice for a strike.
“Allina’s negotiators never made the case why they need to cut nurses’ health plans and ask nurses to pick up $10 million in costs. They’ve said it’s not about money. They said it’s about lowering nurses’ benefits to the low levels that their other employees suffer with,” Becchetti said.
The contract for 5,000 nurses negotiating with Allina Health expired on May 31, but the employer left the bargaining table last week and refused to talk further about important issues to reach an agreement. Allina Health negotiators responded with a “complete offer” and told nurses they would not continue to negotiate.
“Allina Health has refused to bargain about any of the other outstanding issues the nurses have brought forward, including staffing and workplace violence,” Becchetti said.