Deer River Healthcare Workers Announce Strike Authorization

Workers at Essentia Deer River vote to authorize a strike if bargaining committee is unable to reach deal with management

DEER RIVER, MINN — Healthcare workers employed by Essentia Deer River have voted to authorize a strike if the bargaining team is unable to reach a tentative agreement with management. The two sides bargained 8 times since August. More than 90% of members who voted rejected the employer’s proposals and voted to authorize a one- or two-day ULP strike if called by the bargaining committee. The two sides next bargain this Wednesday, December 18th. There is no strike date set. There must be a 10-day notice before any strike would begin. An update will be shared if a 10-day notice is filed. 

53659SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents 96 healthcare workers at Essentia Deer River who are employed as Nutrition Services Assistant, Activity Aide, Laundry Worker, EVS technician, Home Health Aide, Sterile Processing Technician, Cook, Nursing Assistant, LPN, Health Unit Coordinator, Phlebotomist, maintenance, floor care tech, Medical Lab Tech, Surge Tech, Medical Technologist and Radiology Technicians.

The bargaining team has pushed for higher pay and better benefits to help make sure Essentia Deer River continues to recruit and retain the right people to provide high-quality care for patients in the Deer River area.

Kristi Giffen, a member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota on the bargaining team and a Cook who has worked at Essentia Deer River for almost 9 years, shared her reason for taking this vote.

“I voted to strike because management refuses to listen to the needs of the staff and our community as we’ve sat across from them at bargaining. Because our wages are lower than Essential clinics in the area, we are struggling to recruit and retain the quality staff we need to continue the important work we do every day on the front line serving our community. In the few months we’ve been bargaining this fall and winter, we’ve lost multiple people to other opportunities, meaning more mandatory overtime and more of us being stretched thin,” said Giffen. “We are proud of the work we do, but we are being pushed to the limit. For both staff and patients, we need a raise that helps address understaffing and shows that we are valued for our hard work making Essentia Deer River the great facility it is and we all want it to continue to be.”

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota

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