Allina Health is revving up to temporarily replace approximately 5,000 nurses who are adamant they will walk off the job on Monday morning. This pending worker strike comes only after several months of back and forth over talks of a new debate over whether or not the nurses can keep their union-backed health insurance.
Allina Health vice president of communications David Kanihan says this “feels like its gone on far too long” and they have now reached what could be the breaking point. He goes on to say, on the other hand, “I think we are close to a settlement, and we’re hopeful that today’s negotiation session will yield that.”
So far, of course, there is no deal; and Monday is getting closer by the second.
As such, Allina will have to install those 5,000 nurses at operations throughout the country, with some areas already befallen by a strikes, like in the Twin Cities. With that, Allina is now looking to replace staff in five Twin Cities hospitals affected by the strike. This includes the likes of United Hospital and Abbott Northwestern Hospital, both in St. Paul.
Now, the same group of nurses had already gone on strike in June, but for only a week. Kanihan references this group, saying “Significantly about 50 percent of those nurses we’re bringing in this time are the same nurses that were here for the strike in June, so they already have some experience and familiarity with our facilities.”
On the upside, though, Allina Health assures that although the strike will cost the hospital money, it will not reflect in patient cost. Kanihan attests, “The public can absolutely be confident that care will be a top quality.”
The company also says, they are “extremely disappointed” that the union has rejected all of their offers. This includes wage increases, a ratification bonus, a long extension on the two most popular insurance plans, and a delay on the existing proposed premium cost increase. Thus, the company also says, “Our focus now needs to turn to continuing o provide high quality care, with or without some of our permanent nurses. When the union is ready to move forward and accept a fair compromise, we will be there to meet with them.”