The union representing Allina Health workers has announced it is postponing the strike planned for next week, claiming it received a legal threat from the company.
In a press release, the SEIU says Allina told workers it would take "legal action regarding any picketing during the strike" — a rare move from an employer, which the union contends does not hold up legally. The union is postponing the strike "out of an abundance of caution" and says it will announce a new strike date.
"We have never seen an employer use this tactic before. It is stunning to see the lengths Allina is apparently willing to go to stop frontline healthcare workers from standing up for safe working conditions for healthcare workers who take care of Minnesota families," SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley said in a statement.
More than 200 Allina Health technical workers from the St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee and Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis were set to strike from Sept. 14-16.
The strike was approved by 90% of the union members, following months of contract negotiations. The company and union representatives have bargained eight times since May, and have yet to come to an agreement on whether technical workers will have language in their contract ensuring pay and benefits for potential exposures to Covid-19, the union said in a press release.
"Allina Health values our employees and is committed to reaching a fair and equitable contract settlement," the company said in a statement.
"We are pleased that our SEIU-represented employees will be reporting to work as normal on Monday to help care for our patients and communities, as the 10-day strike notice has been withdrawn. We look forward to a renewed opportunity to settle the economic issues identified by union leadership at the negotiation table, rather than enduring a costly and counterproductive strike during a global pandemic."