St. Paul, MN— 3,500 members of the Service Employees International Union Healthcare Minnesota (SEIU HCMN,) have overwhelmingly (91%) voted to strike. Results of two days of voting come on the eve before contract negotiations are scheduled to resume.
Neither the union nor its members will make official remarks heading back to the table. “The vote speaks for itself,” says Tee McClenty, executive vice president of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota who is leading the negotiating team for the union.
If the union calls a 2-5 day strike it would affecteight metro area hospitals including: Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina, Fairview Riverside Hospital in Minneapolis, Children’s Hospitals in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Health East’s Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul and St. John’s Hospital in Maplewood, North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale, and Park Nicollet/Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park.
Health care workers and hospitals have been unable to reach a new contract settlement after the hospitals have continued to propose changes that would radically alter how hospital workers are able to earn a family-sustaining income. The proposed changes would push the lowest paid employees into poverty.
Negotiators representing both workers and the hospitals head back to the bargaining table tomorrow morning (Wednesday, May 16.)
*The 3,500 affected workers include: nursing assistants, ER techs maintenance and food service personnel, clerks, warehouse staff, environmental services staff and others.