‘Angry and resolved to fight,’ Allina nurses authorize second strike

Nurses from United Hospital voted yesterday on Allina's contract proposal. (MNA photo)

Nurses from United Hospital in St. Paul voted yesterday on Allina’s contract proposal. (MNA photo)

Nurses may soon be back on the picket line outside five Allina Health facilities in the metro area. And unlike their seven-day strike in June, a second work stoppage would be open ended.

In balloting yesterday, members of the Minnesota Nurses Association voted to reject Allina’s latest contract proposal. Because a “supermajority” – at least two-thirds of voting members – voted “no” on the contract, it authorizes the bargaining committee to call a strike, the union said.

MNA, which represents about 4,800 nurses at Abbott Northwestern, Mercy, United and Unity hospitals, as well as Phillips Eye Institute, must notify Allina 10 days before a strike begins.

“Nurses know they might be out of a job for a while,” Abbott Northwestern nurse Angela Becchetti said. “They are prepared, and the communications that they’ve had with Allina since the last strike have only made the nurses more angry and more resolved to fight for a fair contract.”

Since ending their last strike June 25, nurses have sought a compromise with Allina on the biggest sticking point in negotiations that began in February: their affordable, union-sponsored health insurance plans.

On Aug. 1 nurses agreed to eliminate two of the four insurance plans and raise the deductibles and out-of-pocket costs for 4,000 nurses.

Allina responded with a proposal that would cap the company’s contribution toward premiums and puts the burden of cost increases almost entirely on the nurses. Allina also insisted that the two remaining plans be terminated if enrollment dips below 1,000 participants.

Nurses viewed those conditions as a “poison pill” that would ultimately kill the two remaining insurance plans.

“Nurses weren’t happy with this offer by any means,” Becchetti said. “We know that forcing nurses to shoulder the costs of insurance that Allina manages means the company will put our insurance in a death spiral. The costs will get so high nurses will have to leave our plans.”

Nurses also said Allina’s proposal contained no guarantees of training to deal with workplace violence or safe staffing to care for patients.

Nurses said their negotiating committee will begin planning for an open-ended strike, but they anticipate being called back to the bargaining table with Allina Health at least once more by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.


  1. […] members responded by overwhelmingly rejecting Allina’s offer and authorizing a second strike, which will last as long as it takes to get a fair contract, MNA President Mary Turner […]

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