3-day Allina mental health worker strike begins, M Health Fairview bargaining continues Monday

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Over 130 Allina Health mental health workers kicked off a three-day “unfair labor practices strike” Monday with a rally outside Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, says the workers’ union, SEIU Healthcare MN & IA.

Picket lines are set to run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Wednesday outside Abbott Northwestern, as well as Unity Hospital in Fridley.

SEIU says over three months of negotiations and a one-day strike during Mental Health Awareness Month, workers faced “anti-union tactics and deliberate delaying at the negotiation table.”

Allina says the workers are asking for “unrealistic” wage and benefit increases, which are the main item left to discuss after agreements have been reached for non-economic issues like workplace safety.

Read the full statement from Allina below:

Allina Health has negotiated with SEIU 19 times over the last several months to reach an agreement on a first contract that honors the contributions of our employees, while balancing the needs of our patients and other employees.

While we have reached agreement with the union on most non-economic issues, including many workplace safety items, the union continues to push for wage and benefit increases that are unrealistic and unsustainable at a time when Minnesota health systems are facing significant financial challenges.

We are disappointed that the union is choosing to take its members on strike, which does not benefit anyone. However, we are prepared to continue caring for our community through the duration of the union’s strike. We look forward to getting back to the bargaining table to continue to work toward an agreement that is fair and recognizes the priorities of both parties.

Allina Health

Neither party has announced a next negotiation date after the strike, but SEIU previously said bargaining is scheduled for late October.

M Health Fairview workers were originally set to join Allina workers for this week’s strike, but Wednesday, a 14-hour bargaining session led to “enough movement” for workers to agree to a next bargaining session on Monday.

Stay with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS for continued coverage of strike and negotiation activity for both hospital groups.