Dear Valued Partner:
As we have been doing all summer, Allina Health is committed to keeping stakeholders and the public informed about the status of our on-going contract negotiations with the Minnesota Nurses Association representing 4,800 registered nurses at Abbott Northwestern, United, Mercy and Unity hospitals, as well as Phillips Eye Institute. Today we reach another important milestone in the discussion-our nurses will be voting on whether to accept our latest contract proposal or to reject it. In the case of rejection they would authorize the union to call an open-ended strike.
I am disappointed to report that despite Allina Health significantly modifying its health insurance proposal from June, the union has recommended a no vote and is clearly preparing to ask our nurses to walk away from the bedside for a second time this summer, possibly in an attempt to once again coordinate strikes in several cities across the nation. After listening to the union concerns, we put forth a proposal that would preserve nurses' choice over their health plan, allowing them to continue the two most popular nurse-only plans. In doing so, we compromised on our key goal of having a fixed end date to the nurse-only plans. In exchange, we put forth some reasonable guardrails around the rapidly escalating costs of the nurse-only plans - these costs are significantly outpacing those of the core plans that the rest of our employees use.
In case you missed it, Dr. Penny Wheeler, President and CEO of Allina Health recently authored this opinion piece<http://www.startribune.com/allina-s-offer-to-the-union-is-a-healthy-compromise/389930291/> in the Star Tribune (Allina's offer to the union is a healthy compromise; Latest health care proposal to nurses would keep insurance plans that 95 percent use) and shared this YouTube video<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h36aKRoE1zg> with all Allina Health employees. In addition, please take a moment to read this thoughtful commentary piece in today's Star Tribune<http://www.startribune.com/allina-and-the-nurses-union-why-i-will-go-to-work-even-if-strike-is-called/390506641/> (Allina and the nurses union: Why I will go to work even if strike is called) by Michelle Dabrowski, a labor and delivery nurse at United Hospital.
No matter the outcome of today's vote, the focus of Allina Health will always be on providing exceptional care to our patients and communities. In the days ahead that will continue to be our guiding principle. As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.