Alleging unfair labor practices, workers at Essentia Health-Deer River have announced a two-day strike next week.

The 96 employees represented by SEIU Healthcare Minnesota will strike on Jan. 2 and 3, according to a news release from the union. Among those walking off the job will be laundry workers, home health aides, phlebotomists, nursing assistants and radiology technicians.

The union is asking for higher pay and better benefits, according to the news release. It said the two sides bargained nine times since August, most recently on Dec. 18, when talks broke down.

"This strike isn't just about us as staff being shortchanged, it is about our whole community being shortchanged," maintenance worker Chuck Davis said in the news release. "SEIU members overwhelmingly voted going on strike because we want to fix the long-term problems facing our community so our hospital is here in our community long term."

In a statement, Essentia Health spokesman Louis St. George III said the health system values its Deer River employees.

"We are disappointed that employees represented by the SEIU have chosen to authorize a strike," he said. "We are available to resume negotiations toward a mutually agreeable settlement that keeps Essentia Health-Deer River jobs among the best in the communities we are privileged to serve."