Nurses strike Twin Cities’ hospitals
Members of the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) began a strike on Labor Day against several Twin Cities area hospitals over health insurance, workplace safety and staffing issues. The strike began shortly after a marathon bargaining session ending early Saturday morning failed to produce an agreement.
The affected hospitals, all affiliated with Allina Health and in the Twin Cities area, include Abbott Northwestern Hospital and the Phillips Eye Institute in Minneapolis, United Hospital in St. Paul, Unity Hospital in Fridley and Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids. The central issue in the labor dispute is the desire of Allina Health to transition its nurses to the corporate health plan that covers other system employees in the hope of saving about ten million dollars per year. The proposed plan has lower premiums but higher deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs.
Allina officials plan to operate the affected hospitals at normal capacity and have assured patients that they can access the hospitals as they normally would. Replacement nurses were engaged on Monday as many MNA represented nurses participated in the strike. Bargaining on the contract began in February, and the labor contract expired effective as of June 1. No other negotiating sessions are scheduled.
The Minnesota Nurses Association represents about 4,800 nurses at the hospitals. For additional details regarding the strike, please see the Star Tribune story from Sept. 5.