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Strike called off as Minnesota hospitals, nurses reach tentative agreement

Thousands of nurses were planning to start an unfair labor practices strike on Dec. 11.

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) has reached a tentative agreement with Minnesota's major health systems, averting a strike that was slated to begin on Dec. 11.

According to the MNA, the three-year contracts for nurses in the Twin Cities and Twin Ports include language to address understaffing, one of the union's main negotiation points. The tentative agreements also include 18% pay raises for Twin Cities nurses and 17% raises for nurses in the Twin Ports.

The union says these wage increases are the largest won by MNA nurses in more than two decades.

In a press release, the MNA said "nurse negotiation leaders are recommending members vote yes to accept the contract agreements" at 15 Twin Cities and Twin Ports hospitals.

Those include hospitals run by Children's Minnesota, North Memorial, Allina Health, M Health Fairview, HealthPartners, Essentia Health and St. Luke's.

On Tuesday morning, St. Luke's Hospital said the following in a statement: 

We are pleased to announce that St. Luke’s and MNA reached a tentative contract agreement. MNA has withdrawn its strike notice and will bring the contract to nurses for ratification in the near future. We want to thank all who have worked so diligently at the table to reach a fair and equitable contract.

Lake View is looking forward to resuming negotiations, as the strike notice was issued to us after only two sessions. We remain hopeful a strike will be avoided, but are nonetheless ready to provide excellent care to our community.

Children's Minnesota also responded, confirming that it has reached an agreement with MNA, and that the strike is on hold for now. It expects the nurses to vote on ratifying a contract later this week.

Allina Health also released a response to the tentative contract, saying: 

We are pleased to announce that Allina Health and Minnesota Nurses Association reached a tentative agreement early this morning. The settlement, which the union is recommending, is now subject to ratification by union membership. MNA has rescinded all strike notices at Abbott Northwestern, United (St. Paul campus) and Mercy (both campuses) hospitals.

 Allina Health is pleased with the settlement, which reflects the priorities of both parties and is fair and equitable to our employees, patients and communities. We are thankful to be able to return our full attention to caring for the community at this time of increased illness and demand. 

On Dec. 1, the MNA announced that an "overwhelming" majority of union members had voted in favor of a second unfair labor practices strike. The union first went on strike for three days in September after negotiating new contracts for months. Twin Cities nurses had been working without a contract since June, and Twin Ports nurses had been working without contracts since July.

Nurses in the Twin Cities and at Essentia Health had planned a 20-day strike starting at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11. 

Nurses at St. Luke's in Duluth and Lake View in Two Harbors had planned to start their strike on that same day with no end date in sight.

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