Frontline Healthcare Workers More Motivated Than Ever to Fight For Safe Hospitals for Workers and Patients
Minneapolis & Shakopee – A group of 200 healthcare workers employed by Allina Health are set to strike Oct. 5th and 6th. The group authorized a two-day Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike in early September after months of contract negotiations, but their original strike (set for 9/13 and 9/14) was postponed because of apparent gamesmanship by Allina management.
Over 90% of the members voting supported the ULP strike when the vote happened last month, and Allina management’s evident stall tactics have only increased resolve among the workers. The group plans to hold the two-day ULP strike from 6 a.m. on Oct 5th to 6 a.m. on Oct 7th at two facilities, St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee and Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. Their union, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, filed a 10-day notice late last week. There is one bargaining session – set for Wednesday with management and the St. Francis group – before the strike dates.
Kia Pille, Radiologic Technologist at St. Francis for nearly 19 years, shared how Allina’s efforts seemingly to delay have only served to motivate the group even more to stand up for what is right as they prepare to strike Oct. 5th and 6th.
“We were asking for better pay and safety for workers and patients before, but after these moves by Allina management our group is unified in demanding these changes. We have been fighting so long to be treated equally with others in Allina and our hospital, even before COVID, and now with Allina’s stunt we’re seeing even more solidarity from others in the hospital,” said Pille. “We’re ready to go out on strike and we’re more determined than ever to stand up for what is right. Both for our families and our patients, we are unified to finally see the changes we’ve been seeking for years. Despite management’s maneuvers and apparent scare tactics, we remain ready to move forward next week with this strike if Allina doesn’t come to the table with a fair proposal.”
The two groups represent over 200 workers at the two facilities. Jobs done by the striking SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members at St. Francis include Medical Lab Technicians, Polysomnographer Technicians (sleep lab), Surgical Techs, Respiratory Therapists, Diagnostics Techs including: special imaging techs, diagnostic imaging techs, cardiac sonographers (ultrasound), nuclear med technologists. Striking SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members at Abbott Northwestern Hospital work as Radiology Technologists in numerous specialty areas.
The two sides have bargained 8 times since May and remain divided on key issues, including around whether these workers will have language in their contract that will provide adequate safety protections and ensure pay and benefits for potential exposures to COVID-19. Unlike their co-workers, who have protections to keep their pay and benefits if they have to quarantine from COVID-19 exposure, these workers currently have a temporary agreement for the first time they have to quarantine, but in the last month multiple workers have been forced to use time earned under the contract before the pandemic when exposed to COVID a second time.
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents over 40,000 healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota