MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A group of Twin Cities nurses headed back to work Wednesday morning after a three-day strike.
The 50 nurses work at Allina WestHealth in Plymouth. They're in a dispute with Allina Health over holiday pay and benefits.
The hospital's emergency and urgent care services had been closed since Sunday.
A new contract has not yet been agreed upon.
Allina released the following statement Wednesday:
Allina Health is pleased to have our staff back at work and welcoming patients for emergency and urgent care services on our WestHealth campus in Plymouth.
Throughout negotiations, we have offered a comprehensive contract. Our current proposal, which was unanimously recommended by the union's bargaining team, yet not ratified by its members, includes an immediate wage increase as well as other benefits. The current paid time off benefits offered would continue under a new contract.
Looking forward, we are hopeful the union is ready to come to agreement on a new contract that prioritizes the health needs of the community, while also sustainably recognizing the contributions of our employees.
The Minnesota Nurses Association released the following statement during the strike:
MNA nurses have been negotiating a new contract for months, but Allina has refused to agree to fair pay for holiday work or adequate benefits. Compensating nurses fairly for holiday work is especially critical because understaffing by Allina and other hospital systems has required nurses to work more days and longer hours, including overtime and holidays, as they continue on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nurses at Allina WestHealth have worked tirelessly to provide critical, urgent care to Minnesotans in the facility's Emergency Department throughout the pandemic. At a time when Minnesotans need emergency care the most, Allina Health would rather leave patients waiting than grant nurses holiday pay and benefits comparable to other Emergency Departments. Allina has acknowledged that they do not lack the revenue to fairly compensate nurses for their holiday hours but that they believe nurses, who have sacrificed so much over the last two years, do not deserve more.
A fair contract that provides adequate benefits and holiday pay will not only justly compensate the nurses currently working, but it is also essential to attract and retain new talent in the profession. While there is no shortage of nurses who want to work at the bedside, there is a shortage of nurses willing to work under current hospital conditions. A fair contract is an important first step toward ensuring a safe and welcoming workplace.
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