4,000 workers, Allina Health reach tentative agreement before strike deadline

Minneapolis-based Allina Health has reached a tentative agreement with the union representing 4,000 workers at its facilities in the Twin Cities area, according to a union statement.

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota said both sides reached the agreement May 5, days before workers were set to strike May 10. 

The agreement covers environmental service aids, nursing assistants, nutrition services, emergency department techs, warehouse clerks and others. They work at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Buffalo Hospital, Mercy Hospital, Mercy Hospital – Unity Campus, Owatonna Hospital, Phillips Eye Institute, St. Francis Regional Medical Center and United Hospital.   

Under the agreement, which must still be ratified by full union membership, workers would receive a 5 percent pay increase over the life of the three-year contract, with 3 percent in the first year, including back pay, said SEIU. Workers at Buffalo, St Francis and Owatonna will also receive an additional 0.5 percent in the contract's first year, as a market adjustment, according to the union. Surgical technicians at Owatonna, Phillips Eye Institute and Unity would also receive an additional 1 percent in the first year.

Other parts of the agreement include a 9 percent pension increase over the life of the contract; workplace safety improvements; recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day; a commitment to equity and inclusion; and language changes regarding job vacancies, give-away shifts and scheduling provisions, the union said.

"Our bargaining team discussed and debated on this offer, and we believe we won the best offer for our membership and our patients," Lynn Carlson, LPN, a nurse at Allina for 46 years, union member vice president and member of the bargaining team, said in a news release. "On wages, we were able to reach 5 percent, with 3 percent in the first year. I've been bargaining since 1980 and we haven't seen 3 percent with back pay since 2008. Our solidarity got us to this point and the majority of our bargaining team are recommending a yes vote."

Allina also praised the agreement, as a fair contract that recognizes the priorities of the health system and union. 

"Allina Health remains committed to being both an employer of choice and to our caring mission of serving our patients and communities," the health system told Becker's.

A full union membership vote on ratification of the agreement is expected in the coming weeks.


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