Talks Break Down at 2 a.m. with Allina Refusing to Move From 0% Pay Increase
Members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota to Hold ULP Strike at Allina Starting May 10th if there is no further movement
MINNESOTA — Allina Health continued their refusal to reach a fair contract with the 4,000 essential healthcare workers with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota who have been working on the front lines helping Minnesota families during COVID-19. The two sides met for 17 hours on Monday for their 11th bargaining session. The union bargaining team remained committed to reaching a fair deal, but the two sides remained deeply divided when talks broke off at 2 a.m.
The SEIU bargaining team had previously announced the filing of a 10-day notice for a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike starting May 10th if an agreement couldn’t be reached. Gene Sparks, a EMT at St. Francis Medical Center in Shakopee and member of the bargaining team, shared the frustration of Allina refusing to reach a fair agreement with the healthcare workers who have been on the front lines during COVID:
“Healthcare workers have given so much over the last year to keep our patients and communities safe during COVID. The fair pay and safe staffing proposals we are fighting for would be good for not just the 4,000 members, but for the people we spend every day caring for by ensuring we keep world-class staff,” said Sparks. “You can’t get much more essential than healthcare workers, yet here we are fighting to reach a fair deal and only days away from a ULP strike. We would much rather reach a contract that respects, protects and pays us so we can do the jobs we love, but if Allina won’t reach a fair deal we are united in our willingness to strike for the contract we deserve.”
The two sides remain divided on key issues, including the fact that management is proposing a 0% pay increase (moved from first year of the contract to second year) while also refusing to agree to needed changes around workplace safety and safe staffing, all while frontline healthcare workers still are dealing with the stress of working in hospitals during the pandemic.
With support from Minnesota and national unions, elected officials and community groups growing, the workers are prepared to begin their ULP strike starting Monday. More details on the strike preparation and where picket lines will be set up on May 10th will be released in the coming days.
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents 4,000 healthcare workers in the Allina system, doing jobs such as Environmental Service Aids, Nursing Assistants, Nutrition Services, Emergency Department Techs, Patient Transport Aids, Patient Access Specialists, Sterile Processing Techs, Surgical Techs/Instrument Specialists, Health Unit Coordinators, Linen Aids, Rehabilitation Aids, Receiving Clerks, Warehouse Clerks, Materials Handlers, LPNs, Phlebotomy/EKG Assistants, Radiology Techs and more. They work at: Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Buffalo Hospital, Mercy Hospital, Unity Hospital, Owatonna Hospital, Phillips Eye Institute, St. Francis Regional Medical Center and United Hospital.
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents nearly 50,000 healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota