MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Striking nurses and Allina Hospitals took part Thursday in their third straight day of negotiations.
Yet, neither side is commenting on what, if any, progress is being made.
The strike at five area hospitals is now entering its fourth week. For the nurses, a crucial date is just two days away.
On Oct. 1, the striking nurses will lose their company-backed health care plans.
The nurse’s union is helping striking nurses to get new health insurance by the deadline. The Minnesota Nurses Association has been organizing MNsure seminars.
Conor Haggerty, a striking nurse, says it was easy to sign up on the MNsure website for affordable coverage for himself, his wife and young son.
“It’s been a sense of a weight off of our shoulders that that insurance piece is not weighing on us,” he said.
Other nurses plan to go on a spouse’s plan, or, if they get sick, use COBRA, which can be used retroactively.
Haggerty, like most nurses, has been picking up extra dollars where he can. He has been driving for Uber.
At the St. Paul Labor Foundation, a bulletin board features job opportunities for nurses. There are also trays of donated food.
Another bulletin board features a Giving Tree that provides striking nurses in need with anonymous donations of grocery and gas cards.
Haggerty says it’s the small donations of gas and food that have helped him financially and emotionally.
“The people on the picket lines and the people involved know it is worth the fight,” he said.
Even if a resolution were reached soon, it would be days before nurses returned to their posts.
The union has to give nurses 24 hours after an agreement before they can vote, and the votes will take place at each of the five individual hospitals.
Allina says the number of nurses crossing the picket line is growing.
The company says that during the first week of the strike, 375 nurses crossed. This week, the number has grown to 582 nurses.