Members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota are engaged in a two-day strike against Regina Medical Center in Hastings.
The 230 aides, technicians and other workers are taking a stand for affordable health care and secure retirement, their union said. The strike began Monday and continues through Tuesday.
“We’re standing up for all working families in Hastings who are counting on a secure retirement and affordable healthcare for their families,” said Karen Martineau, a trained medication assistant at Regina. “In tough economic times like these, our community always comes together.”
The current three-year contract expired at the end of October and contract talks are stalled with no sessions scheduled. At a noon rally Monday, the strikers were joined by elected officials and members of other unions, including the Minnesota Nurses Association and Teamsters.
“Healthcare workers of all kinds play a critical role in keeping our communities safe,” said St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. “Today, I stand with Regina healthcare workers in their fight for affordable healthcare and retirement security. I urge Regina to come back to the table and honor their commitments to their employees so all of these workers can renew their focus on keeping the Hastings community in good health.”
“With our country and our state facing difficult economic times, now is precisely the time for us to ensure that working families across Minnesota can afford to go to the doctor and can afford to retire with dignity,” said Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark. “And to do that, employers need to keep their promises. I stand with striking Regina healthcare workers and encourage Regina to come back to the table so these workers can return to their patients. We need to find a different way to provide cost-effective care other than cutting pensions.”
MNA President Linda Slattengren also addressed the gathering. The MNA said the issue of pension protection resonates with all workers.
“Contract negotiations for SEIU workers at Regina Hospital in Hastings have come to an abrupt halt over pension issues. The Minnesota Nurses Association supports their hard-working, dedicated brothers and sisters of SEIU in their efforts to protect the sacred trust of the retirement security they have all worked so hard to earn.”
In previous hospital negotiations, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota has utilized the tactic of short walkouts, sometimes in sequence at a number of facilities, to pressure employers back to the bargaining table. The union represents more than 14,000 health care workers across the state.
For more information
Visit www.seiuhealthcaremn.org and www.mnnurses.org