Nurses strike approaches unenviable record while union interest in an agreement seems to fade

For more information, contact: David Kanihan, 612-262-4986

No progress since Monday's vote, even though both sides agree the next move is a new offer from the Minnesota Nurses Association

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. 10/6/2016 — As the Minnesota Nurses Association strike against the metro Allina Health hospitals approaches a record-breaking 40th day, the union has not come forward with a new proposal, and no date for new negotiations has been announced. Allina Health is ready to return to the bargaining table, and the MNA stated publicly that the union needs to bring forward a proposal to start the next round of negotiations.

"In the last three days, rather than to seek a compromise to end this long strike, the union leadership has returned to the rhetoric they were using several months ago," said David Kanihan, Vice President, Communications, Allina Health. "The union's public statements contradict the agreements that have been reached behind closed doors, and reveal that the primary goal is to extend the strike indefinitely, rather than resolve our remaining issues."

Only three contract issues remain

On September 29, an agreement in principle was reached on staffing and security, as well as most wage and insurance issues. Three issues were still unresolved at that time:

  • a lump-sum bonus plan
  • the sharing of cost increases in the nurse-only insurance plans in 2019
  • a framework for managing cost increases in the future, after this contract period ends

The union allowed nurses to vote on the Allina Health proposal on October 3. Afterwards, the union announced the proposal had been rejected, although no aggregate or site-specific vote totals have been publicly released.  

"The MNA has made it increasingly difficult for Allina Health, the public and even their own nurses to understand the issues that remain in these negotiations," explained Kanihan. "In fact, in the MNA's own September 30 Bargaining Update, they listed 14 separate union accomplishments from these negotiations, including the agreements in principle that were reached on staffing, the Charge Nurse Assignment Committee, and Workplace Safety. But if you listen to the union's public statements in the last 48 hours, you would think we are still far apart on these issues." 

Allina Health is waiting for word from the federal mediator that the union is prepared to offer a proposal that moves the two sides closer together.

"Union leadership has asked our nurses to remain off the job, forgo salary and pay the full cost of their health insurance during this strike," said Kanihan. "For these sacrifices, both sides should be honest and transparent about the status of negotiations, the many issues we have already resolved and the few remaining issues before us, and we should each show that we are ready to get back to the bargaining table as soon as possible."