Sticking points remain after Allina nurses end strike

Allina Health nurses started returning to work Sunday following their seven-day strike; however, their dispute with the Minneapolis-based health system is far from over, according to a Star Tribune report.

The 4,800 nurses, represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association, went on strike primarily because Allina wants to eliminate union-backed health insurance and move the workers to plans that other health system employees receive. While the strike produced various accusations over issues such as replacement nurses and Allina spending, little apparent progress was made toward reaching a new agreement, according to the report.

Neither side has proposed restarting negotiations, and it is not yet clear whether the MNA plans to pursue a second strike if Allina continues to demand that nurses move health plans, the Star Tribune reports.

"We're eager to get back to the bargaining table," Penny Wheeler, MD, Allina's president and CEO, said, according to the report, but "both sides need to be willing to talk about a health plan transition."

The nurses began a weeklong strike June 19 at five Minnesota facilities — Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis, Unity Hospital in Fridley, United Hospital in St. Paul, Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids and Phillips Eye Institute in Minneapolis — after voting to reject Allina's contract offer and authorize a walkout. Allina Health brought in 1,400 replacement nurses to get through the week.

If the nurses wanted to strike again, it would require another failed attempt at negotiations and another round of voting at each hospital, Rose Roach, MNA's executive director, told the Star Tribune.

Key sticking points that remain include health insurance, nurse staffing and staff and patient safety, according to the report. The nurses' prior contract expired June 1.


More articles on human capital and risk:

Striking nurses seek probe into Allina spending
Santa Rosa Memorial, Petaluma Valley workers approve labor deal
Allina, striking nurses at odds over quality of replacements


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