Essentia Files Unfair Labor Practice Charges Against Duluth Nurses Planning To Strike
Not so fast. Two groups involved with organizing the planned strike by Duluth-area nurses have been hit with unfair labor practice charges by Essentia Health.
The planned strike is expected to take place September 12 through September 16 at health care facilities in the Twin Ports area, Moose Lake, and the Twin Cities. The Minnesota Nurses Association and the National Labor Relations Board have issued their 10-day strike notice, which would affect all health care systems in those communities. That notice details the health care facilities that would be impacted by the strike.
However, Essentia Health is claiming that the list of 16 hospitals doesn't include "Essentia Health-Duluth" - instead listing "Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center". According to the details shared in an article in the Superior Telegram [paywall], that would mean that "Miller Dwan nurses are still expected to show up for work during the strike".
Both sides of the issue are holding and defending theri actions.
Essential Health is characterizing the error as a symptom of the "rush to strike":
"This is another oversight from the Minnesota Nurses Association in its rush to a work stoppage. While we respect the MNA's right to call a legal strike, they have not followed the regulatory process in this case. These laws are in place to hold both sides accountable. Essentia will continue to follow the process as defined in statute, and we expect the MNA to do the same."
The nurses - and the Minnesota Nurses Association - are calling Essentia's filing a strategic move towards preventing a strike. Chris Rubesch, MNA First Vice President and a Registered Nurse at Essentia said:
"...the charge is "yet another desperate move" and an attempt to stop up to 15,000 nurses from walking out next week."
The MNA also suggests that their ten-day strike notice was well within the bounds of what is required by the National Labor Relations Board. Rubesch added:
"[The board]...requires notification only of the date and time that picketing will commence, which the Minnesota Nurses Association provided to Essentia Health. There is no requirement that a union provide notice of the locations at which it intends to picket."
The health care facilities expected to be impacted by a potential strike include Essentia, St. Luke's, M Health Fairview, Allina, Children's, HealthPartners Methodist, and North Memorial.