More Minnesota nurses take aim at executive pay

Nurses in the Twin Ports area and Hastings plan to hold informational pickets June 21 at hospitals operated by Essentia Health, St. Luke's and Allina Health to call for contracts that will prioritize patients, according to the Minnesota Nurses Association.

The pickets are part of a campaign by more than 15,000 members of the Minnesota Nurses Association at hospitals in the Twin Cities and Twin Ports calling out hospital executive pay, according to a June 20 news release.

The unions said members seek "fair contracts which will prioritize patient care at the bedside, not the bottom line of CEOs with million-dollar salaries and their corporate healthcare policies."

The informational pickets on June 21 are planned at three hospitals: Essentia-St. Mary's Hospital and St. Luke's Hospital, both in Duluth, and Allina's Regina Hospital in Hastings. The events, which are not strikes, follow informational picketing June 1 at 11 Twin Cities hospitals.

The informational picketing June 1 was a day after contracts for nurses in the Twin Cities expired. Contracts for Duluth-area nurses expire June 30.

In a statement shared with Becker's, Minneapolis-based Allina said it recognizes the Minnesota Nurses Association's right to conduct informational picketing and has met with the union since April to reach an agreement "that recognizes the contributions of our employees, while prioritizing the health needs of our community and the challenges facing our industry."

Allina has "agreed to match the metro hospital wage increases when those are negotiated and reached a tentative agreement on hours of work provisions and we continue to work to find common ground around contract changes that address the union's other priority issues," the statement said.

Allina also said it has offered compensation enhancements and "demonstrated our shared commitment to important issues like diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as safety and security concerns."

Duluth-based Essentia also shared a statement with Becker's, which said the organization respects its nurses as well as their work and right to conduct informational picketing.

Meanwhile, the health system said it is "focusing on our discussions at the bargaining table because that is where solutions are found."

Essentia "will continue to negotiate in good faith and we look forward to reaching a mutually beneficial agreement," the health system said, adding, "our top priority in everything we do is to continue providing our patients with the kind of expert care they expect and deserve."

St. Luke's, in its statement that was shared with Becker's, said the organization in Duluth is listening to the demands of the union and continues to work toward an agreement "that aligns the best interests of our patients, our employees and our community."

"St. Luke's has made, by any reasonable measure, a fair contract proposal that recognizes the contributions of our nurses while helping ensure that we can keep health care affordable and accessible," the statement said. "In fact, St. Luke's is offering the most comprehensive staffing proposal on the negotiating table in ...Minnesota."

St. Luke's also said it has created a website, YourCareDestination.com, to share information about negotiations and looks forward to another bargaining session on June 22.

The union launched a campaign calling for an end to "profit-first policies of hospital CEOs" in March.

The campaign includes a website highlighting executive pay at M Health Fairview, Allina Health, HealthPartners, North Memorial Health, Children's Minnesota, St. Luke's Duluth and Essentia Duluth.

The union also launched a paid digital advertising campaign highlighting issues facing nurses and patients, including staffing, patient care and wages. 

 

 

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