Minnesota mental health workers to wrap up strike WednesdayOct 05, 2022 09:19AM ● By Laura Durenberger
By Mia Laube KSTP - October 5, 2022
Union-backed Allina Health mental health workers are picketing for a third and final day Wednesday in hopes of establishing a first contract with the health care system in the near future.
Workers with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota & Iowa picketed outside Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis and Unity Hospital in Fridley on Monday and the Fridley location only on Tuesday; on day three, they are expected to only picket outside Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis.
As previously reported, union members are asking for better workplace safety measures, more staffing and higher pay, while Allina is pushing back against wage and benefit proposals it calls “unrealistic and unsustainable.”
Wednesday morning, Allina issued the following statement regarding the strike:
“Our preference is always to reach agreement through negotiations. We have bargained in good faith over 19 sessions with SEIU this year this year reaching agreement on several non-economic issues. Our goal remains to reach a contract agreement that recognizes the valued work of our senior mental health coordinators, while also honoring our commitment to our other employees, patients, and communities at a time of significant financial pressures.
Allina Health last met with SEIU on Sept. 27. At that time, the union showed little interest in engaging in meaningful bargaining that would create momentum towards an agreement nor did they ask Allina Health for additional negotiating sessions leading up to the current strike. The union did not change its previous proposal that would immediately increase wages on average by over 20% for employees, while also seeking additional annual increases totaling 15% over the three years of the contract. These increases in addition to other proposed economic benefits are unrealistic and unsustainable.
We have bargaining sessions scheduled with the union throughout October. We look forward to continuing to work toward an agreement that is fair and recognizes the priorities of both parties.
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