Jan. 2nd Strike Set for Deer River Healthcare Workers

As talks break down, Union files ten-day notice for two-day ULP Strike on January 2nd and 3rd

DEER RIVER, MINN — Healthcare workers employed by Essentia Deer River have filed notice with their employer for a two-day Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike on January 2nd and 3rd.

Chuck Davis, a member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota on the bargaining team who has worked in maintenance at Essentia Deer River for 5 years, talked about why staff overwhelmingly support this ULP strike action.

STRIKE!“This strike isn’t just about us as staff being shortchanged, it is about our whole community being shortchanged. We are a small, close-knit community. When something happens here half the town shows up to support each other. SEIU members overwhelmingly voted going on strike because we want to fix the long-term problems facing our facility so our hospital is here in our community long-term. But management has refused to acknowledge that the majority of our members are underpaid, which is leading to understaffing that hurts both staff and patients,” said Davis. “Management knows what they need to do to fix the problem. If we get a real wage increase, it would mean a huge boost for our community. It is simple math. We are thankful for the strong community support we’ve received and are unified in our fight for what is right.”

The bargaining team has pushed for higher pay and better benefits to help make sure Essentia Deer River continues to be able to recruit and retain the right people to provide high-quality care for patients in the Deer River area. The bargaining team has noted that Essentia staff in the area receive significantly higher pay than Deer River staff and that the low wages are causing staffing issues as people are leaving for better paying jobs.

The two sides bargained 9 times since August, most recently on Dec. 18th when talks broke down. More than 90% of members who voted rejected the employer’s proposals and voted to authorize the ULP strike. After talks broke down on the 18th the Union delivered the required 10-day notice to hold the ULP strike.

SEIU 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, Pharmacy Tech, Surge Tech, Medical Technologist and Radiology Technicians.

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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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