Union votes for 7-day strike against Bloomington-based HealthPartners

Vote was taken on Thursday; walkout could happen later this month

WCCO Radio Newsroom
February 07, 2020 - 10:51 am
HealthPartners workers

Service workers at some 30 sites for HealthPartners have voted to stage a seven-day strike starting February 19, if no agreement is reached with the Bloomington-based provider.

SEIU leaders announced Friday morning in St. Paul that the vote taken on Thursday was 95 percent in favor of walking off the job.

Following the vote, the union filed a ten-day strike notice.

It took 15 hours for the votes to be taken at five different Twin Cities locations.

The walkout could potentially impact more than 1,800 jobs.

RELATED: Strike vote taken 

"This is the worst and most disrespectful negotiations I've seen," said Kate Lynch, a 31-year LPN with HealthPartners who's a member of the union's negotiating team.

At issue are health care benefits, along with wages.

The workers include nurses, dental assistants, and nurse practitioners. 

HealthPartners issued a statement after the vote was released:

Today’s vote announcement is disappointing. We value our SEIU-represented colleagues and are grateful for the work they do to help improve the health and well-being of our patients. That’s why the proposal we put forth would ensure they maintain market-leading benefits. The modest changes we proposed to their health plan would support better health and encourage our colleagues to get care in high-quality, more affordable settings. We believe this is a fair and reasonable proposal, especially given the financial headwinds facing the health care industry. A federal mediator has been part of the negotiating process, and it will be up to the mediator to call both parties back to the table. We remain committed to reaching an agreement on a new contract that is fair to all.

The SEUI contract with HealthPartners expired on Saturday, and negotiations over the weekend failed to reach a new agreement.  

The two sides had a 14-hour bargaining session that began Friday and ended early Saturday morning.

No new talks are scheduled.

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