One strike planned, another averted in Minnesota

Members of the Service Employees International Union Healthcare Minnesota and Iowa have called off a planned strike at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center, the Star Tribune reported Sept. 29.

"The bargaining team can and will refile the strike notice if needed but are hopeful they are going to be able to reach a deal," Brenda Hilbrich, executive vice president of the union, said, according to the newspaper.

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and Iowa 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.

While the planned strike is called off at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center, union members are still set to begin their strike at the Allina Health facilities, according to the Star Tribune.

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

A statement shared with Becker's said M Health Fairview "remain[s] committed to reaching a fair and equitable contract that honors our team members and our shared goals."

The union has said during negotiations that they seek a fair agreement that would adequately address their concerns about workplace safety and staffing issues. Union members also want to improve patients' access to mental health services.

According to the Star Tribune, both sides have also discussed what the appropriate level of security is that boosts safety while keeping intact patients' personal liberties.

In a statement shared with Becker's Sept. 28, Allina Health said the health system "has offered an economic package that provides competitive compensation and additional benefits. We have also offered the same language the union agreed to on behalf of other Allina Health employees regarding workplace safety."

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