Contact: Rick Fuentes
(St. Paul) – June 8, 2016 – Today the Minnesota Nurses Association delivered the 10-day Notice of Intent to Strike to Allina Health executives. MNA Nurses at all five metro Allina hospitals will strike for seven days starting at 7 a.m. on Sunday, June 19, 2016 to 7 a.m. Sunday, June 26, 2016. This strike involves approximately 5,000 nurses at Abbott Northwestern, Phillips Eye Institute, Mercy, United, and Unity.
“We hope this action sends a clear-cut message to Allina what we think of their May 31 offer,” said Angela Becchetti, RN at Abbott Northwestern hospital.
Nurses informed the leadership of the five hospitals of MNA’s intent to engage in an unfair labor practice strike. Nurses have protested Allina’s unwillingness to respond to their proposals on workplace violence and staffing issues as well as provide needed information necessary to counter the employer’s proposal to eliminate nurses’ affordable health plans.
“We hope that Dr. Penny Wheeler of Allina Health understands that the values that she believes are being maintained during this bargaining process are not being followed by Allina Health negotiators,” 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.
Under the National Labor Relations Act, union members can engage in an unfair labor practice strike without fear of retaliation. The nurses’ employment is protected under federal law.
Nurses at all five hospitals voted by overwhelming majority to reject the contract offer and tell Allina to return to the bargaining table. Nurses at all five hospitals also voted by more than a 66 percent super majority to reject the contract and authorize the negotiating committee to call a strike.
“Nurses are prepared to send a week-long message to Allina,” Becchetti said. “This contract is about more than just health insurance. It’s about the staffing our patients receive. It’s about the safety of our fellow nurses from assault. It’s about the care our families depend on.”