MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Allina WestHealth in Plymouth is closing its doors as their 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, that’s according to a WestHealth nurse WCCO talked to.
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The Minnesota Nurses Association 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 facility 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 responded to the incident later Saturday evening:
“Allina Health is disappointed to have received a strike notice from the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) for the approximately 50 nurses who work in Abbott Northwestern WestHealth’s Emergency Department and Urgent Care facilities. We previously reached a contract settlement that was unanimously recommended by the union’s bargaining team. Unfortunately, the union could not finalize that agreement.
Allina Health and Abbott Northwestern WestHealth have negotiated 7 times with MNA. 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.
Allina Health’s priority is providing high quality care to the community. 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 healthcare locations within ten 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
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WestHealth said in a recent statement they will have security on-site to help anyone who arrives at the hospital in need of care.