MINNEAPOLIS — Union workers at Allina Health are vowing to go on strike starting May 10 after contract negotiations broke down following 17 hours of talks Monday into Tuesday.
Organizers at SEIU Healthcare Minnesota say union negotiators and Allina management remain deeply divided, with the health care company refusing to let go of a proposed 0% pay increase. The union says Allina negotiators simply moved the 0% raise from the first year of the contract to the second, while also refusing to address changes surrounding workplace safety and safe staffing.
"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 EMT Gene Sparks, a member of the SEIU negotiating team. "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."
Allina released a statement last week after the union filed a strike notice, saying its union workers are paid above the industry standard.
“Allina Health pays its SEIU represented employees an average of 5% - 6% more than other health systems, and has since 2011," read the statement. "Recently SEIU settled with other healthcare systems in the metro for less than our current proposal, which keeps us as the leader in wages and benefits. Throughout these negotiations we have consistently offered proposals that demonstrate our commitment to our employees, including wage increases and agreeing to some of the union’s other priority issues. SEIU continues to seek an economic package that is unrealistic and does not reflect the financial realities caused by the pandemic."
SEIU represents 4,000 healthcare workers across the Allina system that work at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Buffalo Hospital, Mercy Hospital, Unity Hospital, Owatonna Hospital, Phillips Eye Institute, St. Francis Regional Medical Center and United Hospital.
MORE NEWS: Overdose deaths rise sharply in Minnesota