By WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Allina Health technical workers gathered again Tuesday in front St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee to picket, with signs reading “people over profits” and “enough is enough.”

This marks the second day of a two-day authorized strike after months of failed contract negotiations. The workers, who are members of the SEIU Healthcare Minnesota union, are calling for better pay and safety for both workers and patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

While an official rally was slated for noon, more than a dozen workers were already picketing at St. Francis before sunrise.

Marry Massmann, a medical lab tech at St. Francis who was on the picket line, says that she and other workers just want to know that they’re protected, just like other Allina Health workers.

“We’re in the middle of a pandemic,” Massmann said Tuesday morning. “We just want to know that we’re protected, that our families are protected…We want to be here for our patients. We don’t want to be out on strike.”

Allina Health officials say that the pandemic has put them in a tough financial situation, adding that they’ve tried to offer proposals that balance its commitment to employees and address financial pressures.

The union representing the workers is negotiating a contract that expired at the end of June. SEIU Healthcare Minnesota says it’s at odds with Allina over whether the workers will have language in their contract ensuring pay and benefits for potential COVID-19 exposure.

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