GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. – Nurses at five Allina hospitals promise to walk off the job for one week if no deal is reached with company executives.
Strikes can be costly for both sides. So, does the negotiating tactic really accomplish its goal or has it become outdated?
The Minnesota Nurses Association put Allina Health on notice Wednesday informing company executives that if no deal is reached, nurses at all five metro hospitals will go on strike June 19th.
This strike involves approximately 5,000 nurses at Abbott Northwestern, Phillips Eye Institute, Mercy, United, and Unity. The strike would run from 7 a.m. June 19th to 7 a.m. June 26th.
“In a strike everybody loses,” said John Budd, a labor relations expert at Carlson School of Management.
“From a purely rational standpoint, strikes are irrational because whatever the parties settled on, if they could have figured that out all along; [there’d be no] lost income worker side, profits, damaged public relations possibly on the organizations side,” said Budd.
It's what is known as a negative sum game. Just like a fight with your partner that is going straight down the path to nowhere. What do you do? Walk away and rent a hotel room while he or she pays the mortgage alone; both losing money and time and maybe respect, gaining hurt feelings and mistrust. That could be a way to describe a strike.
But that doesn't mean, even if there are fewer, strikes don't get things done.
“There are definitely examples of successful ones,” noted Budd. “In the Twin Cities, the janitors had a one day strike in winter and a contract settlement a month later.”
Budd also points to the recent strikes by 40,000 Verizon workers on the east coast. Budd says the workers essentially won that strike.
For labor unions, a strike can be the only way to be heard by the company. But, in the modern day strike public opinion can play a roll.
“Public opinion certainly matters. And, I think that was where janitors and fast food workers were successful. They were able to sway the court of public opinion,” said Budd.
Social media can play an important role in a labor strike. Photos and personal stories surrounding last year’s fast food worker strikes were trending all over Facebook and Twitter.
But, in 2016 strikes have become rare and for one main reason.
“I think it's primarily because of the risk of being replaced,” pointed out Budd.