HealthPartners clinic employees slam 'measly' wage offer, file 10-day strike notice

HealthPartners clinic employees have approved a seven-day strike for 1,800 union members, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota announced

The union said a 10-day strike notice would be filed Feb. 7, and if a contract agreement is not reached, workers will begin their walkout Feb. 19. SEIU Healthcare represents nurses, dental hygienists, midwives, lab techs and other caregivers at 30 HealthPartners clinics across the Twin Cities.

"Over our four months of bargaining, HealthPartners has insisted on harmful cost-shifting and cuts to our benefits while offering a measly wage increase that doesn't keep up with inflation," said HealthPartners licensed practical nurse Kate Lynch, a bargaining team member.

The contract between SEIU Healthcare and Bloomington, Minn.-based HealthPartners expired in January, the Star Tribune reports. According to the union, the strike was approved 95 percent of those who voted.

HealthPartners, which also operates Regions Hospital in St. Paul and Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minn., expressed disappointment with the vote.

A company statement said its proposal ensures employees "maintain market-leading benefits."

"The modest changes we proposed to their health plan would support better health and encourage our colleagues to get care in high-quality, more affordable settings. We believe this is a fair and reasonable proposal, especially given the financial headwinds facing the healthcare industry," HealthPartners stated.

HealthPartners said the federal mediator has called both sides back together on Feb. 11.

This story was updated at 10:35 a.m. CST Feb. 10.




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