After waging a public campaign to gain parity with nurses at other Allina Health facilities in the Twin Cities, members of the Minnesota Nurses Association at Regina Medical Center in Hastings voted May 1 to accept a contract that comes up short in the areas of pension and health insurance – with a vow to renew the fight in two years.
The new contract, retroactive to June 2013, will expire May 31, 2016, meaning Regina nurses will enter negotiations on their next contract at the same time as 11,600 other MNA nurses in the metro area.
“I have a hunch we are well positioned to take another run at this with more colleagues at our side,” said Jane Traynor, chair of the Hastings bargaining unit. “For now, it is in the best interest of our community to settle this contract and move on.”
MNA represents more than 100 nurses at the Hastings facility. Contract negotiations with Regina management had been ongoing for more than a year and were held up, in part, by Allina’s acquisition of the 57-bed hospital and nursing home.
In a news release, MNA said the new contract will increase wages by 4.5 percent over the course of the contract. Nurses also won a 25-year step increase and a $2 hourly wage increase for on-call pay.
“Both items align Hastings nurses closer to wage packages of nurses in Allina facilities in the Twin Cities,” MNA said in the release, adding that nurses were disappointed by management’s failure to recognize the role pension and health benefits play in retention and recruitment of nurses.
Traynor, meanwhile, commended all the nurses in the bargaining unit for their level of engagement and interest throughout the negotiations.
“We have an amazing group of caregivers who want to do the right thing for our patients, and will fight for the tools that will help us advocate as best we can,” she said.