MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Monday night, we are hearing from a nurse who says she’s not joining her peers in a major labor strike.
More than 4,000 nurses who work for Allina Health are on strike, after 22 hours of negotiating on Friday. In June they held a one-week strike. But this one is open-ended.
The Minnesota Nurses Association has been at odds with Allina since February as the two sides began negotiating a new contract.
The major sticking points are a proposed change to health insurance plans, staffing levels and workplace safety issues.
On a day honoring labor thousands of Allina nurses say they’re taking a stand for their jobs. It’s a group mental health nurse Bunny Engeldorf is part of.
“Those of us that are standing solid behind the need to get a fair contract and to be able to talk about staffing and workplace violence are here on the streets,” Engeldorf said. “Our power’s in our voice and standing together.”
But a smaller group is taking another stand, staying on the job. Michelle Dabrowski is a mother of three and labor and delivery nurse.
“I just feel like in a way it’s abandoning our patients,” Dabrowski said.
“It’s just not financially feasible for me to be out of work for an unlimited amount of time. I’m not going to risk eviction over a cause that I just don’t believe in.”
Dabrowski is one of 375 who decided not to strike.
“I think the Allina core plans are very fair, especially compared to what’s on the market that most of our community members have to cope with working in other professions,” she said.
But nurses picketing say Allina deductibles are high and security for nurses is insufficient, making it hard to understand why some nurses aren’t joining in.
“I think that’s unfortunate but we do have the solidarity of the majority of our nurses, it’s really a very low percentage in comparison,” Engeldorf said.
So on a day marked by labor, they remain divided over work.
“I don’t think there’s a way for this to resolve where everybody comes in happy about the end game,” Dabrowski said.
Because the nurses crossing the line are in the minority, replacement nurses are filling the open roles in the hospitals.
Right now, there are no new plans for Allina and the union to go back to the table.
Back in June 144 nurses did not strike, about a third as many as this time.