Hundreds of healthcare workers in Minnesota voting on possible strike

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Hundreds of union members who work for HealthPartners in the Twin Cities are voting on whether to stage a week-long strike.

Service Employees International Union represents 1,800 members at HealthPartners in Minnesota. The members, including nurses, dental and nursing assistants, nurse practitioners and midwives, are voting Thursday at various sites around the Twin Cities.

The Associated Press reports that the union states the sticking point is health benefits.

"For four months management has refused to move off their demand to roll back healthcare for 1,800 caregivers and our families," said Kate Lynch, 31. She is a licensed practical nurse at HealthPartners and is on the bargaining team. "We are voting to strike because we know if a rich healthcare corporation like HealthPartners, who made $7 billion in revenue last year, can cut our care, it will move our whole state backwards."

The Bloomington-based health care provider and health insurance company says its offer makes "reasonable modifications" in the employees’ medical benefits. If the union authorizes a strike it must give the company 10 days notice.