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Minneapolis St. Paul News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | Minneapolis, Minnesota | kare11.com

1,800 HealthPartners workers vote on potential strike

Thursday, workers with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota will vote on whether or not to strike for seven days.

MINNEAPOLIS — After four months of negotiating a new contract, nearly 2,000 workers at HealthPartners may go on strike.

If authorized, the strike would last for seven days, and would not be immediate. Union members would need to give HealthPartners a 10-day notice before striking.

At issue, healthcare benefits for workers.

"There is no reason a $7 billion organization that gives its CEO an $800,000 pay-raise should be taking one dime out of the pockets of its frontline caregivers to pad the corporate bottom line. HealthPartners members in Minnesota are fighting for everyone's right to great healthcare. When health workers have to potentially go on strike to guarantee access to quality health care, you know our healthcare system is broken," said Phillip Cryan, Executive Vice President of the SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.

Starting at 6:00 a.m. Thursday, workers will vote for or against the strike at locations across the Twin Cities. Final results will be announced on Friday morning. SEIU Healthcare Minnesota says these employees work at more than 30 locations, covering more than 80 jobs, including nurses and dental assistants.

HealthPartners sent the following response to KARE 11:

"We remain committed to returning to the bargaining table in the days ahead as we continue to work to reach agreement on a new contract that's fair to our SEIU-represented colleagues. Health plan benefits are the core issue. Our SEIU-represented colleagues have market-leading benefits, and that will continue even with our proposal. We're proposing a set of modifications that would support better health and encourage our colleagues to get care in high-quality, more affordable settings. We feel that these are fair and reasonable modifications, especially given the financial headwinds facing the health care industry, including our organization."