On the Picket Line

Minnesota nurses strike 3 days over holiday pay, benefits

By Gabby Prosser
November 1, 2021

PLYMOUTH, Minn. — Some 50 emergency room and urgent care nurses, members of the Minnesota Nurses Association, struck Allina WestHealth here Oct. 17-19 over holiday pay and benefits. The workers by a two-thirds majority had voted down the company’s most recent contract offer. Allina refuses to pay nurses summer holiday pay, unlike its other contracts in the area where nurses get double pay on holidays.

“Our contract is the worst of the 13 Allina locations,” Sonya Worner, a registered nurse and union chair at WestHealth, told the Militant on the picket line. She was part of a seven-week strike in 2016 against Allina around health care benefits.

During negotiations, which have been going on since May, the company proposed cutting nurses’ paid time off almost in half, to 140 hours a year, in exchange for summer holiday pay.

“WestHealth nursing staff stayed the course during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Worner told the media. “Now, in its wake, Allina is refusing to make the necessary movement toward a fair contract.”

The rest of Allina’s contracts in the area expire in May 2022.