MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Nurses have returned to work after ending a weekslong strike against five Allina Health hospitals in the Minneapolis area.
Nurses went back to work on Sunday at 7:00 a.m.
A majority of union members ratified the agreement Thursday, just days after Gov. Mark Dayton called both sides back to the bargaining table, but there are mixed emotions.
"Physically these nurse are here. Mentally they are very upset. There has been a lot of de-value and criticism from Allina Health so this relationship will not be fixed overnight," said Angela Becchetti, a nurse at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and a member of the Minnesota Nurses Association negotiating team.
About 4,000 nurses had been on strike since Labor Day. A weeklong strike was also held in June. Health insurance benefits were a major issue.
Union Executive Director Rose Roach says the agreement improves workplace safety issues, staffing policies and ensures health benefits won't be reduced.
Allina spokesman David Kanihan says his team is happy to have the nurses back at work.
"We understand there are strong emotions on both sides and that there will be a process of healing we’ll go through, but I think when everyone stays focused on really two things, that we’re at our absolute best when we’re working together as a team and that we’re all here to serve patients, I think if we keep those things in mind the transition will go well," said Kanihan.
Becchetti says nurses didn't fully get what they deserve and are determined to fight for their profession and patients moving forward.
"We've become a family and more solidarity in this so we'll take that inside and advocate for our patients. That's what we do best," she said.
The affected hospitals were United Hospital in St. Paul, Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, Unity Hospital in Fridley and Abbott Northwestern and the Phillips Eye Institute in Minneapolis.