Contact: Rick Fuentes
(St. Paul) – August 26, 2016 – Nurses represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association filed a 10-day notice of intent to strike with Allina Health Friday morning. Nurses will begin an open-ended Unfair Labor Practice strike beginning at 7 a.m. on Monday, September 5, Labor Day.
“Nurses sent a message to Allina again last week with an overwhelming vote to reject the employer’s latest offer and authorize a strike,” said MNA Executive Director Rose Roach. “Nurses are exercising the voice they have, and as of 6 a.m. this morning, nurses filed a 10-day intent to strike notice with Allina Health.”
Nurses announced the filing at a press conference at 10 a.m. at the AFL-CIO Labor Pavilion at the Minnesota State Fair. They were joined by leaders of other unions who also announced they were filing notices of intent to strike Allina Health.
“I’m here to say the 86,000 members of Education Minnesota are standing behind Minnesota’s nurses,” said Denise Specht, Education Minnesota president. “We will walk your picket line for as long as it takes.”
The latest round of negotiations between nurses and Allina Health ended on Tuesday with no agreement and no responses by hospital negotiators on nurses’ proposals. Allina negotiators continue to demand that they will not offer proposals or discuss issues of staffing and workplace safety until nurses agree to end all of their health insurance plans.
Mediators with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) met with both sides during the day to discuss the potential for settlement on a new three-year contract. Nurses have been in talks with Allina Health since February. Hospital negotiators once again did not offer new proposals or address outstanding nurse proposals without demanding concessions on nurses’ health insurance plans.
“On Tuesday they said it again. Not even to us. Allina said it to the mediators who are trying to help us get a deal,” said Angela Becchetti, Registered Nurse and part of the nurses’ negotiating team.
Nurses were also joined at the press conference by officials with AFSCME Council 5 and SEIU-Healthcare. Other unions that have already filed a 10-day notice include Communications Workers of America (CWA), Education Minnesota, St. Paul Federation of Teachers, and the Newspaper Guild. AFSCME also presented MNA with a $10,000 check for the nurses’ strike fund.
“Today (Allina’s) telling us we don’t need staffing or training on how to protect ourselves from violence in the hospital,” said Bernadine Engeldorf, United Hospital nurse and negotiating team member. “Tomorrow, they’ll be telling us we don’t need a pension.”
Nurses will begin planning the logistics for an Unfair Labor Practice strike. Picketing will take place around Abbott Northwestern, Mercy, Phillips Eye Institute, United, and Unity hospitals as well as Allina’s headquarters.
“This is an open-ended strike,” Roach said. “These nurses have never felt more disrespected and more devalued by this employer in their entire careers. They are mad.”