Workplace dangers take the stage in nurses strike

Published 9:51 am Friday, September 16, 2016

By Lorna Benson FM

Striking nurses say they’re worried Allina Health will back away from an informal agreement to add 24-hour-a-day security guards in emergency departments.

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A half dozen nurses shared their stories of being injured in patient attacks at a news conference Thursday.

Now that nurses are on strike, they fear that Allina will withdraw its consent to boost security, nurse negotiator Angela Becchetti said.

“The key thing is that there was no tentative agreements on it. So unfortunately I can’t guarantee when Allina actually wants to come back and negotiate with us that we will have a security guard 24/7,” she said.

Allina responded that the company doesn’t want to revisit provisions that have been agreed on in principal.

“The safety of our employees is always one of our top priorities,” Allina spokesman David Kanihan said in an email. “Allina Health and the union traded proposals on September 3 agreeing to all aspects of this issue that were then on the table, including the number of hours of required training and 24/7 security staffing in the emergency department.”

Kanihan said re-opening settled issues does not get nurses back to caring for patients.

The strike is in its 11th day. No new talks are scheduled.

Allina has hired 1,500 replacement nurses to cover shifts at five hospitals during the walkout.