x
Breaking News
More () »

Allina's WestHealth ER, urgent care temporarily closed during nurses strike

The Minnesota Nurses Association announced a three-day strike after a union negotiating session with the hospital group failed to reach an agreement.

PLYMOUTH, Minnesota — "Today, it's sad that it's closed," said Carrie Boris, a registered nurse at Allina's WestHealth campus. 

A sign saying WestHealth's emergency department and urgent care services are temporarily closed stands outside the Plymouth campus, as dozens of nurses picket outside with signs in hand.

"I've been here probably seven years; enough is enough," said Boris. "We deserve to be paid time and a half on summer holidays, as well as the increase in hourly wages since June and every year moving forward, and they're not negotiating with us," said Boris.

The Minnesota Nurses Association announced a three-day strike after a union negotiating session with the hospital group Wednesday failed to reach an agreement on a number of issues, including holiday pay and benefits. 

Union members say they're asking for a new contract as the pandemic and a shortage of workers calls for more hours and longer work days.

"Working through different waves of COVID-19, we are coming to them saying it's about time we are paid the same as metro nurses and here's why," said Boris.

Allina Health officials say they were forced to temporarily close part of the campus due to a "worker stoppage."

Allina Health said in a statement:

"Allina Health is disappointed the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA)’s approximately 50 nurses who work in Abbott Northwestern WestHealth’s Emergency Department and Urgent Care facilities have chosen to strike. Due to the work stoppage, Emergency and Urgent Care services at the WestHealth location have been temporarily suspended from 5:00 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 17 until 7:00 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20. No other services on the WestHealth campus have been impacted. 

 Allina Health’s priority is providing high quality care to the community. Patients can receive the same level of care at our Abbott Northwestern Hospital Emergency Department, additional Urgent Care locations, and our Virtual Urgent Care and Everyday Online care options.

 Allina Health and Abbott Northwestern WestHealth have negotiated 7 times with MNA. A contract settlement was previously reached and unanimously recommended by the union’s bargaining team. Unfortunately, the MNA could not finalize that agreement. Throughout negotiations, we have consistently offered proposals that demonstrate our commitment to our employees, including an immediate wage increase to align wages with other metro hospitals and agreeing to some of the union’s other priority issues.

 At a time when hospitals are under significant pressure throughout the state and country due to sustained high volumes from COVID-19 and other acute illness, a work stoppage benefits no one. It is our preference to reach an agreement on a new contract that prioritizes the health needs of the community and sustainably recognizes the contributions of our employees." 

While Allina Health says the strike comes at a time when hospitals are under significant pressure throughout the state and country due to COVID-19 and other acute illness, nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association are demanding a fair contract for frontline workers.

"Before it was protective equipment and now it's holiday pay. They're not asking for the moon here, people," Turner said. "And for them to be driven to the point where they are disrespected, put down, devalued is intolerable."

The services are temporarily suspended, effective Sunday morning until 7 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20. These will be the only services impacted at this location.

Allina Health recommends using Abbott Northwestern Hospital for emergency care. For urgent care locations available, as well as Virtual Urgent Care and Everyday Online, visit the website here