MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The date is set for thousands of nurses pledging to walk out of area hospitals.
The strike will start Sunday, June 19 at 7 a.m. for nurses who work at several Allina Health hospitals, including Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis and United in St. Paul.READ MORE: Minnesota Judge Among Possible Top Supreme Court Contenders
Allina is hoping to phase out the insurance nurses get through The Minnesota Nurses Association, and put them on the plan other employees use.
The company says that would save them $10 million a year. But nurses say they want to keep their low-deductible insurance.
Nurses have enjoyed low deductibles no matter what. They do not have to pay much for care at the emergency room, and name-brand medications cost about the same as generics.
Allina says it is only fair for nurses to have the same coverage their other employees have, and they want to streamline things.
Word travels fast, and after an afternoon at the pool, a Minneapolis mom shared her bafflement at the impending strike.
“On many levels it’s confusing,” said Molly Cooney, who is pregnant with her second child.
She says her first pregnancy and a health condition made her a regular at Abbott Northwestern.
“So I would have to go in and get IV fluids and medication, and they’re just like so compassionate and kind and smart,” Cooney said. “They just seem so capable.”
So Cooney has been closely following the strike situation.READ MORE: Liddell Leads Buckeyes Past Gophers, 75-64
“They’re humans who also need what I had, which was good insurance that could get me to the hospital of my choice,” she said.
One of the nurses fighting to keep her insurance is Angie Becchetti, who was a patient not long ago. Both of her kids spent their early days in the costly neo-natal unit.
“With my two difficult deliveries in the past, that was affordable to me, and now Allina’s asking me to pay now $12,000,” Becchetti said. “I wouldn’t have another kid if I had to come home and have a $12,000 bill.”
Allina says that number is skewed, and the plans they are proposing have several deductible options that are affordable.
“We are very disappointed and disheartened that the union is striking over Allina Health’s proposal to transition our valued nurses to the same comprehensive and affordable health plan options we provide to more than 30,000 employees,” the company said in a written statement.
The strike involves more than 4,000 nurses who plan to walk out of several Allina hospitals for a week.
“The nurses are upset that we have to come to this point, but Allina Health is not willing to sit down and negotiate with us,” Becchetti said.
And that is the plan, unless both sides agree on a new one.
Nurses also say they want more workplace protection after several of them have been injured by patients.
Allina says they want an agreement right now, as do nurses – but no one is budging.MORE NEWS: Minnesota Weather: Friday Kicks Off Stretch Of Warmer Days
The company does say if the strike happens, they will hire outside temp staffing, and patients will still receive care.