Last-ditch talks between Allina nurses and management broke off early this morning after a marathon, 22-hour negotiating session failed to yield agreement on a new contract. As a result, nearly 5,000 members of the Minnesota Nurses Association plan to begin an open-ended strike Monday morning.
If picket lines go up on Labor Day, nurses will count on broad support from the community. Supporters can take action in several ways:
- Join nurses on the picket lines. Sign up for a shift at allinastrike.com.
- Donate to the nurses’ strike fund. Allina has already spent more fighting nurses than the $10 million it’s seeking to save annually by eliminating their insurance. To stand up to Allina and stay on the picket lines, nurses and their families will need financial support. Donate at mnnurses.org/donatestrikefund.
- Send food, drink and other necessities to the picket lines. MNA’s point person coordinating food donations during the strike is Geri Katz. Contact her at 651-252-5510 to direct your contribution where it’s needed most.
- Call out Allina and its corporate leadership. Take action online by tagging Allina at @allinahealth and using the hashtags #MN4RNs, #nursesneedcare2, #allinacuts and #1u. Also, use the list below to contact members of Allina’s not-for-profit board of directors, by phone or e-mail.
At a rally earlier this week, nurses from other Twin Cities hospitals pledged solidarity with their Allina colleagues for as long as it takes to get the contract they deserve.
“We get that this is for all of us,” HealthEast nurse Lisa Buesgens said. “This is union busting … and we’ll be next.”
“We’ll be on the line with you through thick and thin,” Methodist nurse Mary McGibbon said.
In addition to support from other nurses, several large Minnesota unions, including SEIU Healthcare, AFSCME Council 5 and Education Minnesota, have delivered notice to Allina Health that their members intend to picket alongside MNA members.
“Educators care for nurses just like you care for us,” Education Minnesota President Denise Specht said. ” We are with you as long as it takes.”
Allina management and nurses made some progress during the 22 hours they spent in negotiations, according to a press release issued by MNA today. Allina gave some ground on nurses’ demand for security officers in emergency rooms, but the provider refused to budge from its demand nurses give up their union-sponsored, low-cost health insurance plans before 2020.
“We gave it our all,” Abbott Northwestern nurse and union spokesperson Angela Becchetti said. “Nurses have offered to eventually end their two remaining healthcare plans and move into the higher cost Allina health plans with bigger out-of-pocket costs. It wasn’t enough.”
The sticking point, according to nurses, remains Allina’s refusal to give them a safety net against high-cost medical bills, as well as management’s demand for language allowing Allina to change health care plans without bargaining with nurses again.
“Nurses have been negotiating for seven months,” Becchetti said. “Nurses have gone on strike. Nurses have been willing to compromise to create an agreement that would benefit the hospitals as well as the nurses. Allina didn’t make efforts to work with us.”