Press Release: MNA Nurses Set to Strike Allina Health on Labor Day

Press Release: MNA Nurses Set to Strike Allina Health on Labor Day

Contact: Rick Fuentes
(o) 651-414-2863
(c) 612-741-0662
rick.fuentes@mnnurses.org

Barbara Brady
(o) 651-414-2849
(c) 651-202-0845
barbara.brady@mnnurses.org

(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.”

18 Comments

  1. It is about time nurse’s speak up. Patient’s don’t realize how scary it is in the hospital due to poor staffing. People are dying because of it. If I were in the hospital now, I would want someone with me 24 hours a day to assure I am getting taken care of. I am a nurse and have seen it. The hospital’s only care about money. Nurse’s work the craziest hours, clean up crap, vomit, and many other types of disgusting things. Would I decide to be a nurse again? No, due to unbelievable staffing to patient ratio’s which are causing harm to patient’s.

  2. In the meantime, single parents trying to make a buck to provide for their family suffer. How will they get paid while the MNA gets their payday? These antiquated insurance plans are a joke anyways. MNA is just being greedy. This isn’t about poor staffing. This is about MNA wanting to keep an antiquated insurance plan. Nurses who need to work to put a meal on the table are walking into a hostile work environment every day because of this “lovely” union. Spoken from someone who sees it daily. I hate the MNA. I wish I could get out of the union but they’ll get mad and retaliate. Way to speak up for the nurses you bunch of bullies.

  3. What a bitter complainer, Jacob! Are you a nurse? Are you an Allina employee? What do you consider “antiquated” about the insurance plans Allina wants to eliminate? Do you think the administrators at Allina will be going to an insurance plan that means more out-of-pocket expenses for them WITHOUT getting a pay raise? Think about it before you spout off and call names!!!!

  4. Another solution, Jacob Withering, is why don’t you move to a right to work state? Go ahead and take the $10 cut in pay (at the least!), cuts in benefits and you won’t have to worry about the bullying unions!

  5. Just like the rest of the bullying members of that union. “Do it my way or get out.” God forbid if others might have an opinion contrary to the “wonderful” union. Why should I need to move to a right to work state if the union is looking out for my needs, wants, and desires? And yes, I believe the administrators of Allina are on the same insurance plan. For those of you who think there are special plans for those in management or above – THAT is an antiquated idea.

  6. How can you nurses say you put the care in health care when you aren’t even around to care for your patients? How is this in keeping with the Florence Nightingale Pledge? Or have you all forgotten about that? Maybe you should all re-read that and take the oath again. I wish Allina would terminate you all and make you re-apply to your job – without the union in the way. Maybe if you all knew who signed your check it would put you in your place.

  7. Jacob Withering: you still haven’t explained what “antiquated insurance plans” are! Are you a member of MNA ? Are you a nurse? And as far as the “single parent” nurses are concerned, THATS EXACTLY who MNA is trying to protect. Are you aware Allina wants MNA to agree that the current nurses get one type of insurance but those hired from now on would get a lesser insurance policy? That’s how much Allina cares for younger, newer nurses & single parents!

  8. Why does it matter if I’m a nurse or a member of MNA? I suppose my opinion is of lesser value if not? If so, you and your cronies just want to bully me? Look it up on the register, it’s all public information. Then again, I presume looking information up isn’t your strong point if I need to explain to you how the current plan is antiquated. Compare Alina’s offering to other corporations and you’ll find it’s in line with the rest of society. Are we really so high and mighty that we feel we need these fancy Cadillac plans? If you were for the single parent, you’d show some empathy for those nurses that want to cross the line to work and bring home a paycheck while you continue your squabble. I suppose the wonderful union will be cutting those parents a check to pay for their bills while you all are out there walking up and down the sidewalk?

  9. Hayden, you are correct. The MNA has forgotten who signs the checks. It would be entirely one thing if this was about staffing issues. But, all released information from the MNA has been about insurance issues.

    Jacob, you are also correct in that most nurses that are against this strike do not feel comfortable bringing their concerns to anyone in authority. This union has a history of bullying employees that have views contrary to theirs. Take a look at the time line in which they complain that Alina released information before they could. How much time do they need?

  10. As a concerned resident, I have to agree that this looks poorly on the MNA. I fail to see how they can say they care for their customers when they’re on strike for such petty concerns.

  11. Jacob Withering: It MATTERS if you are a nurse or not because, unless you are a nurse, married to a nurse, have a family member who is a nurse, there is NO WAY you can understand how nursing is changing/has changed so the nurses are working harder and harder to provide GOOD care to our patients!!! Even my husband of 38 years doesn’t understand when I work a 12-hr. shift and run in the door when I get home to go to the bathroom because I haven’t had a chance in the past 10 hrs. to do that!!! I am an OB nurse, DON’T work for Allina & live in Greater MN and we are hemorrhaging people from this profession who can’t understand how/why we work so hard and get so little in return! It’s THE PATIENTS who keep us in this profession and, if I were a new grad nurse now and saw how difficult/impossible this job is, I would have run, too!! Your pat response, I know, will be: “So why don’t you quit or get another job?”. ALL of healthcare/nursing is becoming like this, so who do you think will take care of YOU, Jacob Withering, when you are sick or hospitalized? Good luck to you and EVERY sick person! (BTW–is your profession a secret or is Allina your boss, too? If you are a healthcare corp cronie, SHAME ON YOU. If you aren’t, why do you think YOU have such a stake/opinion in this difficult issue? So, which is it?)

  12. I guess you should just have a valid argument then – whether I’m a nurse or not. If I’m a nurse, how does that change anything – or do you simply take to the side of shaming me? You’ve completely gone off topic. Whether a nurse or not, I’m on the side of realism and from what I’ve seen so far, that side is with Allina.

    When you see that the nurse to patient ratio in MN is better than any other state, count your lucky stars. Like I said, this has nothing to do with staffing ratios, it has to do with insurance. MNA is stating it has to do with staffing ratios to the general public, but all information released internally has to do with insurance. Why? Because they know that the staffing ratios in MN are better than anywhere else.

    So, while you are concerned with a staffing ratio issue, the MNA is arguing for insurance. How exactly is retaining that insurance plan going to help you day-to-day when you don’t get your lunch break or any resemblance to any other break? So today’s strike (the one that isn’t allowing that single income family to make a paycheck to buy food for the kids that have to go to school tomorrow, or school supplies for the new school year) is arguing for something that will fix a problem after it has already become a problem instead of fixing a day-to-day issue? You know, the whole “Let’s focus on prevention to stop the problem instead of waiting for it to be a problem” argument.

    At the end of the month, where will we all be with no insurance and still no paycheck? What a great battle to have. If you know anything of strategy, you know Allina simply needs to wait it out until the end of September and then they have all bargaining power and the MNA has none. As the family coffers start to dwindle and the threat of no insurance looms, we’ll see how the tables change.

    Who will take care of me? A nurse of course – what a silly question. It may just not be an MNA nurse. ๐Ÿ™‚ A better fight for the MNA would be to focus this much effort into making staffing ratios a law versus a contract negotiation point.

    (Aren’t you at least glad I didn’t respond with the pat response you suggest?)

  13. Thanks for the response, Jacob Withering, and I’d appreciate it if you could respond without derogatory comments (such as “silly question”–I have not insulted or denigrated you!). The reason insurance is an issue is because if Allina pulls the insurance from the nurses, nurses will have to pay MORE for healthcare, thus it actually is a PAY CUT! So, how does that help “single income parents” who need to “buy food for the kids”? Isn’t that taking directly from them when they have to pay MORE for insurance and healthcare? And how does that help staffing when people who want to go into nursing see the poor pay and terrible benefits? And, if the MNA Allina nurses cave, what do you think happens to ALL the insurances for ALL the MNA metro nurses next contract? And then ALL nurses in MN? It’s a race to the bottom and if you ARE a mystery nurse, you should be SUPPORTING the nurses instead of fighting AGAINST them!

  14. Sorry – it was a silly question. Why ask it when you and I already know the answer. I hate to break this to you, but insurance costs are rising everywhere therefore everyone is taking a PAY CUT (since you felt the need to put it in all caps). How does being on strike help the single income families to buy food for their kids? Again, is the MNA cutting them a paycheck while they make no money and get behind on bills? Maybe you should be striking for increased pay instead of decreasing a bill that’s going up for everyone. Health care costs are going up because of the fantastic affordable care act. Why do you nurses feel like you shouldn’t contribute to the increase costs? Just everyone else’s problem?

    BTW, the link you provided doesn’t offer anything meaningful to this conversation from what I can tell. Look at the BLS for meaningful data and stats and then use critical thinking skills to answer questions. Like, what is the average pay for nurses in other states? Nation wide? What is the staffing ratio? I believe that you’ll find that MN nurses are some of the most well paid and have the lowest staffing ratios around.

    So we come back to why does the MNA feel like they shouldn’t contribute for the overall health care costs going up?

  15. I agree with Jacob. This strike is so terribly short-sighted and doing nothing more than keeping MNA costs low while rising the operating costs of the hospital. Who gets to pay that? The consumer and Obamacare. What happens then? The rates go up – again. The MNA doesn’t put the care in health care. They aren’t even on the job now. You’re proud of the fact that someone had a horrible experience because all of you are on strike. How is that caring about the patient and showing empathy?

  16. For those of you who are (maybe) nurses and are criticizing the strike and MNA: What have YOU done for YOUR union? Have you every been a member leader in YOUR facility? Have you even voted in any of the MNA elections? Have you ever attended a MNA Board meeting? Did you ever get to know the people running for the Board of Directors or ask them what direction they felt MNA should take? Have you ever been a delegate to an MNA convention (held once a year, in Oct.?) You don’t like the direction MNA is going, then GET INVOLVED, BECOME INFORMED AND MAKE A CHANGE instead of just criticizing and complaining! Be an adult and professional!

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