St. Luke's nurses, management reach tentative agreementUPDATE: The resolution came at 6 a.m. today, 17 hours after the negotiation session began. Meanwhile, nurses at St. Mary’s Medical Center are without a contract.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
St. Luke’s Hospital nurses and its management this morning reached a tentative agreement on a contract and avoided a possible strike, according to John Nemo, Minnesota Nurses Association spokesman.
The resolution came at 6 a.m., 17 hours after the negotiation session began.
St. Luke’s nurses are expected to vote to ratify the contract Sept. 8. Voting will take place at United Baptist Church, 830 E. First St., from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“We are pleased that St. Luke’s and the MNA nurses have come to a tentative agreement,” St. Luke’s President and CEO John Strange said in a news release. “No details of the agreement can be released at this time. St. Luke’s and MNA worked hard and bargained in good faith for a fair resolution.
“We understand that MNA will be recommending this contract to their members, and we look forward to a positive outcome.”
According to the MNA, the agreement includes:
Meanwhile, nurses at St. Mary’s Medical Center are without a contract.
MNA represents the 958 registered nurses at SMDC and 420 at St. Luke’s. Nurses at both hospitals voted overwhelmingly Aug. 18 to reject contract offers and authorized a one-day strike. A 10-day notice is required before the union members can strike, and that has not yet happened at SMDC.
SMDC began planning for a possible strike since nurses at 14 Twin Cities area hospitals held a one-day strike on June 10, SMDC spokeswoman Kim Kaiser said last week.
“We’re pleased to hear of the tentative agreement that was reached between St. Luke’s and the MNA,” Kaiser said this morning. “We’re interested in learning details of the agreement. I can’t really say at this point how or if it will impact our negotiations.”
Union leaders at SMDC insist the sticking point is patient safety, not wages. SMDC is offering nurses a three-year wage package that Twin Cities nurses recently received: no raise this year, 1 percent in year two and 2 percent the third year. The Duluth nurses’ contracts expired June 30.
Kaiser said another stumbling block to a settlement seems to be the size of the employer contribution for health insurance premiums.