Over 4,000 nurses working at five Allina Health hospitals in the Twin Cities will go back to work this Sunday. The strike of the Allina nurses has ceased after they signed a new contract with the hospitals.
After a combined protest period of 44 days, the strike of Allina nurses has finally come to an end thanks to a new contract voted by a majority of representatives. They previously rejected four contract proposals and negotiations lasted almost nine months. The approved contract features a similar offer to previous other contracts. However, it adds new guarantees regarding health benefits and new financial incentives for the Allina nurses.
The decision to accept the contract was a hard one for many nurses. Angela Becchetti, the nurse who announced the results of the vote in regard to the contract proposal, has said that the hospital company should have committed to the concessions in the contract sooner. One such concession is to have 24-hour security in all emergency rooms.
The nurses will return to work as soon as 7 a.m. this Sunday to all five affected hospitals: Phillips Eye Institute in Minneapolis, Unity in Fridley and Abbott Northwestern, Mercy in Coon Rapids and United in St. Paul. The hospitals will have to rotate out the replacements hired from various parts of the country in order to keep the hospitals running during the most recent strike. In this period, the hospitals only reported normal levels of patient admissions and ER visits.
The comprise regarding the new contract was reached on Tuesday after an intense 17-hour session of negotiations. The union representatives recommended the contract, while other nurses were displeased that that two percent early increase in salary was canceled out by the 44 days of strike.
The main feature of the new contract is that Allina must guarantee the benefit levels of its corporate plan service through 2021. They also need to provide up to $2,500 over five years in their savings or health reimbursement accounts. Nonetheless, Allina managed to switch the nurses from union health plans to corporate ones as they will be subjected to a federal tax by 2020.
Some divisions and feelings that surfaced during the strike must still be reconciled.
Have you been affected by the strike of the Allina nurses?
Image source: Allina Health