MINNEAPOLIS - Week two of the nurses strike against 5 Allina facilities is entering week number two with a difference in perception in terms of how things stand.
On Sunday Allina Health released a statement expressing optimism that the two ides are actually quite close on talks to reach a new contract agreement. The company also says that 440 union nurses have crossed the picket lines and returned to work.
"We want to thank the 440 permanent nurses who have decided to continue to work, rather than walk away from care," reads the Allina statement. "Each day, as more nurses return to the bedside care of patients, it is increasingly clear that a significant and growing number of nurses are rejecting this strike as a method to resolve our labor dispute. We sincerely hope that the leadership of the union is listening and is motivated to seek a fair and equitable resolution to these negotiations."
The statement maintains that Allina and the nurses union agree on issues like hiring practices, scheduling, tuition reimbursement and staff safety. and says movement has been made towards transitioning the nurses to Allina's health insurance plan by 2020, the issue identified as the major hurdle in reaching an agreement.
A Minnesota Nurses Association spokesperson tells KARE 11's Ivory Hecker that it is illegal for Allina to call for negotiations through the media, and says the union has already filed a lawsuit against Allina for doing that in the past. Spokesman Rick Fuentes also says the union has not received any request from Allina to meet and reopen negotiations. ""We would very much like to go back to the table, and we still have a proposal out there that they have not responded to," Fuentes said.
Allina has brought in 1,500 replacement nurses to cover those who are striking, and insists that between temporary and nurses that have decided not to strike, patients are receiving safe, compassionate care.