MNA to hold strike vote
UPDATE 10 a.m. – The Minnesota Nurses Association says union members will hold a strike vote next week as they continue to negotiate contracts with hospitals across the state.
According to the union, the vote will be held Monday, Aug. 15.
If the vote passes, it would allow nurse negotiation leaders to call a strike after filing a 10-day notice with hospital employers.
Union officials say 15,000 nurses have been working without contracts in the Twin Cities and Twin Ports areas, and negotiations have been ongoing since March of 2022. Nurses in the Twin cities have been working without a contract since the end of May.
Since then, informational pickets have been held at hospitals across Minnesota, and last week, nurses voted “No confidence” in hospital executives.
According to union leaders, if a strike involving the 15,000 nurses happens, it would be one of the largest nurse strikes in the history of the United States.
Allina, Essentia Health and Twin Cities Hospitals Group issued the following updated statements Thursday:
“Today will mark the twelfth time we have met with the Minnesota Nurses Association to reach an agreement on a contract. It is our hope to reach a fair agreement that demonstrates our commitment to our valued nurses, while prioritizing community needs in light of on-going challenges being felt at Allina Health and throughout the non-profit health care industry.
We have offered an economic package that includes a wage increase of 10.25% over the three years of the contract, as well as additional compensation benefits. We have also demonstrated our commitment to many of the union’s priority issues, such as diversity, equity and inclusion, safety and security, and recruitment and retention.
While we are disappointed the union is choosing to move to authorize a strike, our priority is providing high quality care to the community. We are hopeful we will begin to see progress at the bargaining table and avoid possible work stoppages that do not benefit anyone.”Allina Health
Essentia Health will continue to negotiate in good faith and is committed to reaching an agreement that benefits our nurses, provides expert, compassionate care for our patients and promotes stewardship for our organization.Essentia Health
“We understand that the past two years have been hard on everyone in health care. Our care teams all worked exceptionally hard to care for patients and care for each other. Today, our non-profit hospitals continue to recover financially from the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes the pandemic brought to the workforce and our community. Despite the financial challenges to our hospitals, we are proud to have offered our nurses the largest wage increases in 15 years while agreeing to keep nurses’ benefits unchanged for the life of the contract.
While taking a strike authorization vote is the right of any union, we are disappointed that the nurses’ union leadership has rushed into their strike authorization vote and continues to reject our offer of an outside mediator. Mediation was successfully used in previous contract talks, and we believe it represents a practical way to bring focus and clarity to the negotiations. We encourage the nurses’ union and its supporters to focus on the pathways we’ve successfully used in the past.
It is important for the public to note: our hospitals are open and will remain open to serve the community. Today’s announcement from the nurses’ union reflects only that they intend to ask their members to authorize a strike. It does not mean a strike is inevitable. We will continue our efforts at the negotiating table to reach reasonable agreements and avoid any actions that would interrupt patient care. We assume the union will do the same. We remain committed to serving our community and keeping our focus on the patients we serve.”Twin Cities Hospitals Group
An earlier version of this report can be found below.
INITIAL REPORT 6 a.m. – The Minnesota Nurses Association is expected to announce what they’re calling plans for collective action Thursday morning.
The union says 15,000 nurses are working without contracts in the Twin Cities and the Twin Ports.
Things have been heating up for a while, and negotiations have been ongoing since March.
Nurses picketed at 15 different hospitals across the state in June, and just last week, nurses in the union voted no confidence in the hospital executives they’re working with for new contracts.
As of this time, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS doesn’t know what the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) will announce Thursday, but so far, their actions haven’t affected staffing levels in the hospitals.
The 15,000 nurses within the union have been asking for changes such as solving the lack of staff, making better preparations for the next pandemic and better pay.
“I really want us to be able to stay here and serve our community to our best and our best isn’t happening anymore. It’s partially because we’re worn out and partially because we don’t have the staff that we need,” said Mary McAlpin, a Registered Nurse at Regina Hospital.
Allina issued a statement in June, saying in part:
“Beyond offering compensation enhancements, we have demonstrated our shared commitment to important issues like diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as safety and security concerns.”Allina Health
Essentia Health also stated it “will continue to negotiate in good faith, and we look forward to reaching a mutually beneficial agreement.”
Nurses in the Twin cities have been working without a contract since the end of May.
Thursday’s announcement is expected to be held at 8:30 a.m.
Check back for updates.