Health care workers vote on possible strikeby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Health care workers at five Twin Cities hospital systems vote starting Monday on whether to authorize a two to five-day strike.
The 3,500 members of the Service Employees International Union's health care unit work at Fairview, Children's, Health East, North Memorial and Park Nicollet hospitals. Their jobs range from nursing assistants to maintenance workers.
The union has been negotiating with the hospitals on a new contract since their previous contract expired Feb. 28. But union leaders say the hospitals' proposals so far wouldn't ensure that the workers are fairly compensated.
The hospitals said in a written statement that they're disappointed the union is voting on whether to strike.
"The hospitals are asking for reasonable changes to the current contract to be good stewards of our limited resources and the need for flexibility to adapt to an ever-changing health care world," the statement read. "We hope to reach a settlement based in fairness to SEIU members, as well as other hospital employees, and thus avoid the burden that a two- to five-day strike would place on so many employees."
The vote to authorize a strike takes place Monday and Tuesday.
The two sides are expected to meet for negotiations on Wednesday. If union members authorize a strike, the union would give the hospitals a 10-day notice.