Minnesota Children's Nurses are voting on strike authorization

Minnesota Children's Nurses are voting on strike authorization

There are members and any members of the union who represent about 1,500 Minnesota Children's nurses in St. Helens. Paul and Minneapolis voted on Thursday's contract offer from the health system. The workers could accept, refuse, or refuse the discussion and authorize a strike.

"We don't like the last offer from the hospital," said the nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit Elaina Hane who works in Minnesota Children, St. Paul and who is on the union's negotiating committee.

Hane stated that the increased cost of members' health insurance is the main point of her group.

"We need a 67 per cent vote to authorize strike, but only a 51 per cent vote says," Hane said.

Even with the authorization of a strike that may exist, more negotiations are scheduled for Friday. If union leaders succeed in calling a strike, they could do so at any time. However, any walking period would initially be subject to a ten day waiting period.

Children said they did not expect voting. Management requires it to work in good faith towards settlement.

"We are surprised that they are running a strike vote at this point in the negotiations," said Katie Penson, senior director of clinical services at Minnesota Children.

Penson said the union refused the management's request for mediation. "We asked the union several times whether we could get a federal mediator to get a solution," Penson said.

The contract dispute by Children is part of a much larger round of nurse union negotiations with six Twin Cities systems. Approximately 5,000 Alina Health nurses held two strikes starting in June 2016 and finishing in October of that year.

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