1,800 medical staff at HealthPartners serve notice of 7-day strike

They are not happy with the insurance and wage offer made by company.
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Some 1,800 staff members at Twin Cities-based HealthPartners have voted in favor of a 7-day strike.

The vote on Thursday saw 95 percent of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members vote in favor of the action, with the union issuing the mandatory 10-day notice of a strike.

Should no deal be reached before then, the 7-day strike will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 19.

Going on strike would be 1,800 non-doctor staff at 30 HealthPartners clinics, including nurses, midwives, dental hygienists, lab techs, and physicians assistants among others.

Negotiations between the union and HealthPartners have broken down after months of talks, with the union not happy with what it says is a cut to workers' healthcare benefits, along with a "measly wage increase that doesn't keep up with inflation."

The union says that workers deserve more from a company that posted $7 billion in revenue in 2018, and whose chief executive was paid more than $2 million last year.

In a statement, HealthPartners called the vote to strike "disappointing."

"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," it said. "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."

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