Allina Healthcare Workers Threaten To Go On Strike

Frontline workers at a major Minnesota healthcare system are prepared to go on strike. The employees say they feel disrespected after working on the front lines during the pandemic, reports Kate Raddatz (1:54). WCCO 4 News - April 7, 2021

Video Transcript

- Front line workers at a major Minnesota health care system are prepared to go on strike.

- The majority of Allina House unionized health care workers voted last week to support a strike if they can't reach a deal with management in their latest contract. As Kate Raddatz reports, the employees say they feel disrespected after working on the front lines during the pandemic.

KATE RADDATZ: Allina Health has been in contract negotiations with health care workers who are members of SEIU Health Care Minnesota since January. The union says they bargained eight times with no resolve. The negotiations come after a challenging year for health care workers.

BRENDA HILLBRICH: They have been going to work under circumstances that they were completely not prepared for and the employer was not prepared for either.

KATE RADDATZ: The contract affects 4,000 Allina Healthcare workers in Minnesota like nurses, surgical techs, and health unit coordinators. The workers say Allina is refusing to offer a pay increase for the first year of the deal and also say management refuses to address issues regarding workplace safety and staffing. Health care workers picketed Wednesday outside Allina's Abbott Northwestern Hospital, one of eight locations where the impacted employees work.

HARRY O'MARA: It is disrespectful. This should be the easiest contract we've ever had to negotiate after the year we've just experienced.

KATE RADDATZ: Allina Health told WCCO they pay SEIU employees 5% to 6% more money on average compared to other health systems, and that they lost 32 million last year. A statement said in part, "Allina Health respects and values the important contributions of all our employees. We continue to be committed to a settlement that is fair to our employees, patients, and our communities."

HARRY O'MARA: They call us heroes, but they refuse to treat us like that.

KATE RADDATZ: Kate Raddatz, WCCO 4 News.

- The bargaining team would have to give a 10 day notice for any potential strike. The two sides are expected to talk again on Friday.