MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - Allina WestHealth in Plymouth is closing its emergency room and urgent care as nurses go on strike.
The strike starts Sunday at 7 a.m. as nurses seek a new contract that would provide fair pay and benefits. The three-day closure will displace hundreds of people and Allina would be losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue, according to a nurse with the Minnesota Nurses Association WCCO talked to. WCCO has reached out to Allina Health to verify those figures.
The MNA says negotiations have been going on since May and that nurses have failed to reach an agreement on a number of issues including getting summer holiday pay, which they say most nurses in the Twin Cities already have.
"They're telling us if these 48 nurses were to receive summer holiday pay that Allina somehow feels committed, that they'll also have to provide that to the non-contract employees. And frankly, we think they should. That should also be the case for non-contract employees," said Sonya Worner, a registered nurse at WestHealth.
Allina reportedly cannot find enough nurses to replace those striking so the ER and urgent care will be closing for three days.
In a recent press release from the Minnesota Nurses Association, Worner said Allina believes their contracts are just "good enough."
"WestHealth nursing staff stayed the course during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, in its wake, Allina is refusing to make the necessary movement toward a fair contract. Allina admitted that it is not because they don't have the money to fund the minor benefit increases we are asking for, but stated that our contract is 'good enough,'" said Worner.
Allina's latest statement on the strike is below:
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.
If you're worried about finding medical care in this area due to the closure, there are several health care locations within 10 miles of the clinic.
Urgent care facilities near WestHealth:
- Park Nicollet Urgent Care – 4155 County Road 101 N., Plymouth
- North Memorial Health Urgent Care – 9855 Hospital Drive, Maple Grove
- North Memorial Health Urgency Center – 15450 Highway 7, Minnetonka
Emergency rooms near WestHealth:
- Maple Grove Hospital Emergency Room – 9875 Hospital Drive, Maple Grove
- Methodist Hospital Emergency Center – 6500 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park
- North Memorial Health Hospital – 3300 Oakdale Ave. N., Robbinsdale
Allina Health said patients will be directed to other health care sites while the urgent care and emergency room are closed.
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