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Nurses picket for new contract: Next negotiation session is Friday

Nurses conduct an information picket on Tuesday afternoon in front of Regina Medical Center in Hastings. Star Gazette photos by Chad Richardson

Nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association, Regina Hospital and metro area hospitals held an informational picket outside the hospital Tuesday afternoon.

The nurses’ union has been attempting to negotiate a new employment contract with Regina’s new owner, Allina Health, for several months. Eight bargaining sessions have already taken place; a ninth is scheduled for Jan. 24. The most recent contract expired Dec. 31.

Nurses contend that portions of the contract Allina has offered are substandard as compared to other Allina facilities; specifically, negotiators say that the pension plan and insurance plan are not up to the standard set in other facilities.

Their concern, said Jane Traynor, MNA negotiator and a Regina RN, is that the contract being offered would affect the quality of care Hastings residents receive.

Regina CEO Ty Erickson has responded with assertions that the contract is fair and that wage increases, what he says is are improved health insurance plans and a 401(k) plan that includes an employer contribution as well as an employer match are evidence that it’s a good offer.