After another session in an eight-month long contract negotiation process ended without an agreement, nurses bargaining with the Allina system are calling for the health care corporation to put the community first. “We are deeply concerned that Allina wants to treat workers in Hastings differently than they do in other parts of the state, and that tactic will affect the care we are able to deliver to our neighbors and friends,” said MNA negotiator Jane Traynor, RN.
MNA nurses from all over the Allina corporate system arrived in Hastings early Tuesday morning to help their new colleagues deliver a message of solidarity on behalf of their patients to hospital administrators at Regina Medical Center. As yet another session began in contract negotiations, a sea of red turned out in support of the MNA bargaining team.
“It’s empowering,” said Traynor. “These have been difficult negotiations with Allina, and we appreciate the support from nurses who have come from other facilities, as well as the nurses who work here.”
Allina swept the once-independent 57-bed regional facility into the corporate fold in September. Even though Regina Medical Center is just 20 minutes away from other MNA-represented metro facilities (including Allina-owned units) that enjoy mature contracts and a pension, Allina administration is offering sub-standard contract terms to the nearly 100 Regina nurses.
Hospital negotiators walked into a room full of determined nurses who stood proudly behind the MNA negotiations teams and voiced their purpose for being there.
“Every patient deserves the same level of excellent health care,” said Mary Turner, RN, a member of MNA’s Board of Directors who works at North Memorial Hospital (a non-Allina facility) in the Twin Cities. “And every nurse in Minnesota deserves to be treated fairly,” she added.
MNA President, Linda Hamilton, RN, BSN who is a pediatric nurse at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, offered a global perspective. “Today, 20,000 nurses in Minnesota and 185,000 across the nation are standing up for what nurses need to care for their patients.”
In addition to Turner and Hamilton, nurses from River Falls Medical Center, Unity Hospital, United Hospital and Abbott Northwestern all turned out in support of their colleagues.
Traynor delivered a petition to Allina negotiators that was signed by three quarters of the MNA nurses in the bargaining unit at Regina Medical Center. The powerful, clear message was headlined “Because our patients deserve high quality care,” and issued this bottom line: “We, the undersigned will not accept a contract offer that makes a second-rate commitment to the nursing care our patients deserve. We demand the same commitment to nursing in Hastings that Allina has made with every other MNA contract in the metro area.”