BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — More than 1800 healthcare workers will cast their vote Thursday, deciding if they are willing to strike over failed contract negotiations with Health Partners

“We have a lot of support from our members and we are hoping to get that strike vote,” lab assistant Constance Swets said. “We are hoping that the employer will see that all we wanted to do was negotiate collaboratively with them and bring them back to the table.”

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They’re upset over proposed changes to health benefits. SEIU Healthcare Minnesota says HealthPartners wants to raise copays and premiums. Clara Boykin is a lab technician and has worked in her field for decades.

“I feel we deserve the best health care if we work for the best health care company,” Boykin said.

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WCCO reached out to HealthPartners. They released a statement saying in part:

“We proposed modest changes to their health plan that would support better health and encourage our colleagues to get care in high-quality, more affordable settings. We believe that this is a fair and reasonable proposal, especially given the financial headwinds facing the health care industry.”

The union represents health care workers from 30 different clinics across the Twin Cities and will continue to work under the language of their expired contract for now.

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The voting results will be announced Friday morning. Depending on the results, the workers could authorize a strike in 10 days.

Kate Raddatz