Members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and HealthPartners management reached a Tentative Agreement (TA) at 3 a.m. this morning after 17 hours of negotiations. The 7-day ULP strike that was to begin Wednesday morning at 6:30 a.m. has been called off.
Nancy Wickoren, a 31-year LPN at HealthPartners and member of the SEIU Healthcare Minnesota bargaining team stated via a press release that,
Together, as a team, we worked long and hard to stand up for the health benefits and wages our families deserve. After months of negotiations, and an overwhelming strike vote, we were able to land on a strong tentative agreement for a new contract that maintains excellent healthcare benefits,” said Wickoren. “As in any negotiation, we didn’t get everything we wanted. But we are very proud of how our membership stood up together and fought back huge cuts and cost-shifts to healthcare and overtime pay that management had insisted on for months. The final agreement also includes improved wage increases in each year of the contract. The bargaining team is encouraging our members to vote ‘Yes’ to approve this agreement. They will have the next few days to review the terms of the tentative agreement in detail.
Highlights of the deal include:
- Wage increases of 7.5% over the three years
- Protecting union members’ excellent “Classic” health plan benefits
- Overtime pay provisions protected from all cuts and changes
The agreement comes after union members voted overwhelmingly Thursday, February 7th to approve a 7-day Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) strike for 1,800 members by an overwhelming vote of 95% to 5%. This followed months of planning and organizing. The energy and movement for this vote had been a long time coming.
The contract between HealthPartners and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota expired on January 31st.
The TA will be voted on by SEIU Healthcare MN members next week. The 1,800 workers in the bargaining unit represent nearly all caregivers other than doctors, including RNs, dental hygienists, LPNs, CMAs, midwives, lab techs, physicians assistants, and over 80 different jobs in total. They work at 30 HealthPartners clinics across the Twin Cities.
6-year CareLine RN Christina Bolk stated that,
“The members of our bargaining team want to express our deep appreciation for the support we have received from the public and our patients in this fight. It has been truly inspiring seeing how the whole community has come together to show support to HealthPartners caregivers. To other union members, especially fellow healthcare workers, we hope we have shown that by sticking together and organizing we can protect what we’ve won and win gains that allow us to get back to what we really want to be doing: provide world-class patient care to Minnesota families.”