Allina Health workers begin 3-day strike

Members of the Service Employees International Union Healthcare Minnesota and Iowa went on strike Oct. 3 at facilities operated by Minneapolis-based Allina Health, according to the Star Tribune

The union represents healthcare and long-term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and home care. On Sept. 27, unionized mental health workers announced three-day strikes beginning Oct. 3 at M Health Fairview's University of Minnesota Medical Center and Allina Health's Abbott Northwestern Hospital, both in Minneapolis, as well as Mercy Hospital-Unity Campus in Fridley, Minn. 

Although the strike was called off at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center, union members proceeded with their strike at the Allina Health facilities, according to the Star Tribune

Stephanie Stark, a senior mental health coordinator, told the newspaper that workers were on strike because Allina Health has not met their demands for pay that aligns with their training background, union-protected benefits, and security "that acknowledges the unique challenges of our position."

"There's an awful lot of things Allina is not interested in," Ms. Stark said, according to the Star Tribune. "But if they want to hire and keep good employees, they're going to have to start getting interested in settling the contract with the benefits and safety protections we deserve."

Union members voted to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and Iowa late last year and are in negotiations with hospital management. 

During negotiations, Allina Health has reached agreement with the union on most non-economic issues, including many workplace safety items, the health system said Oct. 3 in a statement on its website

Meanwhile, "the union continues to push for wage and benefit increases that are unrealistic and unsustainable at a time when Minnesota health systems are facing significant financial challenges," the health system said.

Allina Health said it is prepared to continue caring for patients through the duration of the strike. 

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