As strike ends, Allina nurses say they’re stronger, more unified than ever

United nurses kept the energy level high during the final hours of picketing in downtown St. Paul.

United nurses kept the energy level high during the final hours of picketing in downtown St. Paul.

Union nurses at five Allina care centers in the Twin Cities lowered their picket signs at 7 p.m. tonight, marking the end of an historic, seven-day strike that energized and unified members of the Minnesota Nurses Association.

At United Hospital in St. Paul, organizers expanded the picket line to accommodate an influx of supporters eager to see strikers to the finish. In the strike’s closing minutes, picketers huddled together and listened as nurses reflected on the strike and what lies ahead.

“You know this is going to come up again,” United nurse Darla Lowell said into a bullhorn. “Encourage each other, because this is going to be one thing after another.”

MNA members are scheduled to resume staffing Allina’s four metro hospitals – Unity, United, Mercy and Abbot Northwestern – and Phillips Eye Institute at 7 a.m. tomorrow. United nurse Barb Forshier, a member of the union’s bargaining team, said she anticipates some “hard feelings” on the hospital floor in the coming days.

“Now the nurses are angry, and they’re ready to force action,” Forshier said. “We hope that this strike sent a strong message that it’s time to go back and bargain in good faith.”

Nurses are standing together to defend their affordable, quality health insurance plans. Since contract talks began in February, Allina has refused to budge from its demand that nurses give up four union-sponsored insurance options and transition into “core” plans that cover most of Allina’s other employees.

Nurses’ picket lines saw an average attendance of about 2,000 people per day, according to the union. But Allina executives, including CEO Penny Wheeler, have remained unmoved, continuing to insist that nurses give up their high-quality, affordable health insurance as a starting point for negotiations.

“They don’t know who we are,” United nurse Sarah Lake said. “They don’t know how strong we are. They don’t know how much solidarity we have.

“I’ve never been prouder to be a nurse in my life.”

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Comments

  1. I live in the neighborhood by Unity Hospital and 100% support the nurses out picketing. There is no chance that I, or any of my family would step foot in any Allina Hospital during the strike. My neighbors feel the same way. There is no possible way that you could replace experienced Allina nurses with a bunch of nurses that know absolutely nothing about the hospital they are dumped into. Anyone who has spent time training into any new job knows that someone can’t just walk in and do their job without proper time to train into the job. The difference between most of our jobs and a nurse’s job is that nurses are the eyes, ears, and hands that keep people alive. I would never entrust the live of anyone I love to be taken care of by someone that walked into a nursing job blindly, without a long training period. Thank you Allina nurses for caring enough to fight for what is right. You are a great example of courage. I believe your company managers are the ones that should have replacement workers

  2. Martha Utz says:

    Congratulations! Martha Utz RN CNA/NNU

    On Sat, Jun 25, 2016 at 7:12 PM, Union Advocate wrote:

    > Union Advocate posted: ” Union nurses at five Allina care centers in the > Twin Cities lowered their picket signs at 7 p.m. tonight, marking the end > of an historic, seven-day strike that energized and unified members of the > Minnesota Nurses Association. At United Hospital in” >

  3. Michael Frank says:

    Now THIS is what makes Americans strong again!!!! SOLIDARITY!

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