PLYMOUTH, Minn. (NewsNation Now) — A Minnesota health facility temporarily closed its emergency room and urgent care facility after nurses went on strike Sunday morning.
About 50 nurses at Allina Health’s WestHealth campus in Plymouth walked off the job, fighting for better holiday pay and benefits.
WestHealth is a medical campus that has 24/7 emergency and urgent care services.
The planned three-day strike was called after failed attempts at negotiations that have been in the works since May of this year.
According to the American Nurses Association, more than 500,000 seasoned nurses are anticipated to retire by next year. The U,S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for 1.1 million new nurses for the expansion and replacement of those retirees.
Allina Health says it negotiated seven times with the Minnesota Nurses Association.
“At a time when hospitals are under significant pressure throughout the state and country due to sustained high volumes from COVID-19 and other acute illness, a work stoppage benefits no one,” Allina Health responded in a statement.
Allina Health’s statement also said, in part:
“Throughout negotiations, we have consistently offered proposals that demonstrate our commitment to our employees, including an immediate wage increase to align wages with other metro hospitals.”
The Minnesota Nurses Association also provided the statement, saying:
“Compensating nurses fairly for holiday pay is especially critical because understaffing by Allina and other hospital systems has required nurses to work more days and longer hours, including overtime and holidays, as they continue on the front lines of the covid 19 pandemic.”
It is not just nurses, as thousands of workers are on strike across the U.S, demanding higher pay and better conditions despite Hollywood make-up artists and camera operators recently reaching a deal to avoid a walkout.
The nurses plan to continue to strike from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day until Oct. 20.