Workers at two Essentia Health facilities file for union representation


Contact: Sam Fettig
(c) 612-741-0662

Lauren Bloomquist
(c) 651-376-9709

(St. Paul) – May 2, 2024 – Registered nurses at Essentia Miller Hill Surgery Center and nurses and other healthcare workers at Essentia Solvay Hospice House announced this week that they have filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board to form a union represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association.Workers at each of the Essentia facilities filed for election this past Friday, April 26, because they want a voice in their workplace to improve both working conditions and how care is provided to their patients.

“I want to protect what Solvay was originally built for—a place where hospice patients and their loved ones can receive skilled and compassionate end of life care from highly knowledgeable, dedicated, and empathetic staff, said Kimberly Volkart, a registered nurse at Essentia Solvay Hospice House. “I feel that unionizing is the best way to not only preserve the integrity of Solvay and the high quality of care we provide, but also to protect the heart and soul of Solvay: the staff.”

At Essentia Solvay Hospice House, workers across the board, including Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Nursing Assistants, Administrative Assistants, Environmental Services workers, and Cooks, filed for a union election.

“I want us to be able to give the same kind of care we did 10 years ago,” said Robyn Vraa, an LPN at Solvay Hospice House, “Everyone should be able to support themselves.”

Registered nurses at Essentia Miller Hill Surgery Center are facing the same issues in their workplace around working conditions, scheduling and patient care conditions, spurring the unionization effort.

“There needs to be guidelines in place for mandatory time off on low-needs days.  Nurses are not guaranteed their Full-Time Equivalencies (FTEs), and there needs to be a limit on the amount of time off Essentia is mandating,” said Cindy Proulx, registered nurse at the Essentia Surgery Center, speaking on some of the issues nurses are experiencing.

The elections for each facility will likely be scheduled in the coming weeks.

These workers join those at Essentia Health Duluth 1st Street Clinic and 2nd Street Clinic who voted to join MNA earlier this year. The Essentia East Market Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) have also filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to unionize with MNA and are working to get to a vote despite continued resistance and roadblocks from Essentia executives.


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