MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – About 1,800 union workers from HealthPartners intend to hold a vote on Thursday to decide whether or not to go on strike over disagreements with management about employee health care benefits in a new contract agreement.
The results of the vote will be released on Friday. However, the vote only authorizes a strike, “and a 10-day notice would be needed before a strike could happen,” according to a media release.
The positions that the employees hold vary widely – they include nurses, dental assistants, nurse practitioners, midwives, and more than 70 other positions across 30 locations.
In their release the group said that the strike comes after five straight days of bargaining, including a 14-hour-long session that began on Friday and ended Saturday morning.
The current contract between the two sides expired on February 1. The employees are members of the Service Employees International Union and they say they are ready to continue bargaining, but no dates are currently scheduled.
Midday on Monday HealthPartners issued a statement regarding the situation.
“We remain committed to returning to the bargaining table in the days ahead as we continue to work to reach agreement on a new contract that’s fair to our SEIU-represented colleagues. Health plan benefits are the core issue. Our SEIU-represented colleagues have market-leading benefits, and that will continue even with our proposal. We’re proposing a set of modifications that would support better health and encourage our colleagues to get care in high-quality, more affordable settings. We feel that these are fair and reasonable modifications, especially given the financial headwinds facing the health care industry, including our organization.”