MINNEAPOLIS — Over 200 Allina health care workers at St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee and Abbot Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis have voted to authorize a two-day strike, beginning September 14.
The workers have "voted to authorize a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike after months of bargaining and employer refusing workers' health and safety demands during COVID-19 pandemic," according to a news release from the union, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.
Over 90% of the members voting supported the strike. The union filed the 10-day notice Thursday for a two-day strike that would start at 6 a.m. on September 14 and last until 6 a.m. on September 16 at the two facilities.
"Jobs done by the striking SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members at St. Francis include Medical Lab Technicians, Polysomnographer Technicians (sleep lab), Surgical Techs, Respiratory Therapists, Diagnostics Techs including: special imaging techs, diagnostic imaging techs, cardiac sonographers (ultrasound), nuclear med technologists. Striking SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members at Abbott Northwestern Hospital work as Radiology Technologists in numerous specialty areas," according to the news release.
Allina Health released this response Friday:
Allina Health is committed to reaching a fair and equitable contract settlement with the approximately 220 employees at Abbott Northwestern Hospital (ANW) and St. Francis Regional Medical Center (SFRMC). The contracts covering these employees expired on June 30 and were extended by mutual agreement through July 31. SEIU was not interested in an additional extension beyond that date.
Throughout these negotiations, Allina Health has consistently offered proposals that demonstrate our commitment to our employees, while also reflecting the current financial realities caused by the pandemic. Despite receiving over $170 million in government support for COVID-19, Allina Health still experienced financial losses of $152 million through the end of June. The SEIU’S proposal for a 13% wage increase over the life of the contract, among other economic enhancement proposals, is simply unrealistic in this current environment. Allina Health has offered 2.25% over the life of each contract and is not seeking any concessions in current contract language.
Strikes are counter-productive and will not bring the parties closer to a negotiated agreement. It is particularly disappointing that the union would use this tactic in the middle of a global pandemic when Allina employees are focused on delivering needed health care to the communities we serve. It is also disappointing that the union would state publicly that this is a strike about safety issues, when nearly all of their concerns expressed at the bargaining table in 8 negotiating sessions have been about economic issues. The majority of Allina Health employees have already made economic sacrifices in response to our financial situation.
Our most important priority is providing high quality care to the community during this unprecedented time. And while we still hope to avoid a labor disruption, we are prepared to continue to provide a full array of patient care services at ANW and SFRMC throughout the duration of a work stoppage by our union employees.