Allina nurses to launch open-ended strike on Labor Day

The union representing roughly 4,800 Allina Health nurses has filed required 10-day notices allowing the workers to strike beginning at 7 a.m. Labor Day, according to a Star Tribune report.

The strike over health benefits, staffing and safety issues will affect five Minnesota hospitals — Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Phillips Eye Institute in Minneapolis, United Hospital in St. Paul, Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids and Unity Hospital in Fridley.

Leaders with the Minnesota Nurses Association planned to formally announce the strike Friday at a news conference at the Minnesota State Fair, along with leaders from other labor unions who also notified Allina that they will support the walkout, according to the article.

The upcoming strike is open-ended, meaning it will begin Sept. 5 and last until a deal is reached, reports the Star Tribune.

This will be the second Allina nurse walkout since an initial seven-day strike in June. Last week, the nurses rejected the latest contract offer from Allina, voting against it with the required two-thirds majority to authorize a strike. However, negotiators with the union decided to wait to set a date pending the outcome of talks that took place Tuesday, according to the artricle. The June strike, which didn't result in a deal, cost Allina $20.4 million. During the strike, Allina brought in 1,400 replacement nurses.

Multiple staffing agencies have already indicated they are recruiting nurses to cover an Allina strike, reports the Star Tribune.

A key sticking point in negotiations, along with workplace safety and staffing levels, has been the cost and design of the nurses' union-backed health insurance. Allina wanted to eliminate the nurses' four union-backed health plans, which include high premiums but low or no deductibles, and move the nurses to its corporate plans, reports the Star Tribune. The union wanted to protect those nurse-only plans. Allina has estimated that eliminating the nurses' four union-backed health plans would save the health system $10 million per year.

According to the Star Tribune, Allina and the nurses agreed to keep two of the union plans, but disagreed on how much the nurses should pay in future cost increases, and whether new Allina nurses could choose the union plans.


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