MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Thousands of nurses at five Minnesota hospitals are scheduled to go on strike at 7 a.m. Monday, Labor Day, in a dispute over health insurance, workplace safety and staffing levels. Here’s a look at some of the issues:



They’re all part of Minneapolis-based Allina Health — Abbott Northwestern and the Phillips Eye Institute in Minneapolis, United in St. Paul, Unity in Fridley and Mercy in Coon Rapids. About 4,800 nurses at those hospitals are represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association, the union that called the open-ended strike.



Health insurance.

In a move Allina estimates would save $10 million a year, it wanted to switch nurses from their union-only health plans to ones that cover all other Allina employees, meaning nurses would pay lower premiums but have higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses.

That mirrors a national trend toward shifting costs on to employees with higher deductibles and patients picking up more out-of-pocket costs. The union has resisted, saying nurses are more prone to injuries and illnesses because of the hazards of their jobs.

Allina has since altered its position, offering to let the nurses keep their two most popular plans. But the union says that’s a step backward because Allina would pick up only 2 percent of whatever cost increases the plans incur (the company later offered to increase the cap to 3 percent and delay implementing the cap until 2019). The union also says the plans eventually would become so expensive that the nurses would have to drop out and the plans would die.



Allina officials say it won’t and didn’t in June when nurses at the five hospitals walked out for a week. The union disputes that. The hospitals have been lining up replacement nurses, but that’s an expensive proposition. Bringing in 1,400 replacement workers from across the country was a major reason why June’s strike cost $20.4 million, Allina acknowledged in a recent financial disclosure statement. The union says Allina has been pressuring nurses to cross the picket lines and keep working.



The two sides met Friday with federal mediators. The 22-hour talks broke off early Saturday with no agreement on a new three-year contract, and no new talks scheduled. The contract expired June 1.



Hard to say. Union leaders have said nurses will stay off the job for as long as it takes. The June walkout was only scheduled to last a week. The last big open-ended nurses’ strikes in the Twin Cities lasted 23 days in 2001 and 38 days in 1984.

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Comments (7)
  1. John says:

    If a nurse is injured by a violent patient, her medical expenses are covered under Workers Compensation benefits, no co-pay required. Why do nurses need Cadillac plan?

  2. Gail Roberts says:

    Do you expect workman’s comp will cover a nurse’s spouse or children after the nurse has unknowing come home with MERS, Ebola, etc. How about a nurse’s family member delaying being seen for illness that shows up after an international flight because they would rather the deductible be applied a few days later when the new year rolls in (perhaps they already have surgery scheduled in the new year); meanwhile the nurse is treating your family member in the ICU or maternity ward.

  3. **** says:

    the nurses are protesting the wrong source of the problem…turn your attention to your government leadership esp the ones that passed Obama care….REPEAL OBMACARE-esp now that we almost know whats in it…[ referring to Pelosi who said we need to pas it to know whats in it!!..smart ? real smart.-sarcasim-

    we ALL are in this mess


    1. These same union nurses supported Obamacare. I’ve taken my elderly mother to them. I brought it up or they brought it up while waiting for tests or general conversations. You’d be shocked how many nurses are either totally uninformed or brainwashed Democrat hacks. I would never trust my health in their hands. They think money grows on trees and that they are not subjected to Obamacare themselves. Bunch of low life hypocrites.

  4. Kathy says:

    Why are the reporters not calling out the nurses who state they need the Cadillac plan because of workplace injuries? Workman’s Comp covers all injuries or diseases work related. I have the insurance plan the RN’s state would cost too much out of pocket for them. It’s a great plan, costs less than they pay monthly for the Cadillac plan and has great coverage. My family has high usage, sees specialists for multiple issues and has many, many prescriptions per month. The comparison between the two plans has been given to all Allina employees multiple times for the RN’s to review and yet they still state Allina is not being truthful about what their out of pocket would cost them. Ask your coworkers if you don’t believe Allina. We would be more than happy to tell you that your claims are unfounded.

  5. Wonderful! Nurses go on strike. They don’t work as they don’t work when on the timeclock. The patient mortality numbers go to zero. It’s a win-win. I’ve seen many homes where the nurses live. They post their signs all over the metro. They live in HUGE houses. No wonder they want more cash. Those big mortgage payments cost a lot. Union goon nurses.

  6. UnionsSuck says:

    The union is sending threatening letters to nurses that cross the lines. F the Union!