Nearly 5,000 nurses will walk off the job on Labor Day in open-ended strike

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Nearly 5,000 Twin Cities nurses will walk off the job on Labor Day.

This open-ended strike involving nurses at five Allina Health hospitals comes after months of negotiations over the nurses' health care coverage.

Nurses held a seven-day strike back in June, and last week they voted to approve an open-ended strike.

The Minnesota Nurses Association – the union that represents the nurses – filed its 10-day intent to strike notice early Friday morning, according to the union's website. The Star Tribune says the strike will begin at 7 a.m. on Sept. 5 and continue until a deal is reached – the union hopes this will put a little extra pressure on the health care system so the two sides can come to a resolution, MPR News reports.

Allina wants to move the nurses onto its corporate health plan, saying it will save them money. But nurses say the plan will cost them more in out-of-pocket expenses. (MPR News reported on an independent review of both the corporate health plan and the nurses' union health coverage, finding they were both "generous.")

The Minnesota Nurses Association is expected to hold a news conference with state labor leaders at the State Fair Friday at 10 a.m., where they'll make a "major announcement about negotiations with Allina Health."

Allina Health has said it will find replacement nurses for Abbot Northwestern, Phillips Eye Institute, Mercy, Unity and United hospitals if there is a strike. When nurses went on strike in June, Allina hired 1,400 replacement nurses – it cost them more than $20 million, the Star Tribune says.

BringMeTheNews has reached out to the Minnesota Nurses Association for more information on the strike announcement.

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