Allina, nurses break off contract talks; strike still planned for Sunday

MNA nurses vote in St. Paul.
Nurse Jodi Johnson heads into the Minnesota Nurses Association voting center in St. Paul to cast her vote regarding a new contract offer from Allina Health on Monday, June 6, 2016.
Evan Frost | MPR News

The union that represents 4,800 nurses at Allina Health in the Twin Cities said negotiators made no progress in talks with a federal mediator Monday.

The Minnesota Nurses Association said nurses at Abbott Northwestern, Mercy, United, and Unity hospitals and Phillips Eye Institute still plan to walk off the job Sunday at 7 a.m. and will picket all five facilities.

Last week the union submitted an intent-to-strike notice after the two sides could not reach an agreement about health coverage.

The company wants to shift the nurses onto the plan its other employees receive, saying that would save $10 million a year. But nurses contend that would cause their out-of-pocket costs to surge.

In a statement Monday, MNA said no further negotiating sessions are planned. The union said "nurses were told again by Allina negotiators that the elimination of the nurses' health plans was the only thing to discuss."

In its own statement, Allina said the union "is not serious about resolving the key issues in this discussion but is instead pushing for a strike that benefits no one."

Allina said it will staff its hospitals with replacement nurses if the strike goes ahead.