Regina nurses hold informational picket

Posted 6/29/22

By Bruce Karnick [email protected] An informational picket is a public demonstration by a labor union for the purpose of informing the public about a matter of concern to the Union. The nurses …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Regina nurses hold informational picket


By Bruce Karnick

[email protected]

An informational picket is a public demonstration by a labor union for the purpose of informing the public about a matter of concern to the Union. The nurses at Allina’s Regina Hospital have been in contract negotiations since April 11, 2022, and their contracts expired June 1. They picketed June 21 in front of Regina Hospital to draw attention to the issues that the Minnesota Nurses Association and the members have with the negotiations so far.

The nurses are seeking solutions to address the understaffing and retention crises to allow the Regina nurses to continue to provide patients with highquality care. The crisis of understaffing and retention in Minnesota hospitals has been a problem for years.

“We’re fighting for a contract that keeps nurses at Regina and lets us continue to help our community,” said Gina Jacobson, RN. “After years of cuts and low staffing, we’re ready to take a stand for our patients.”

Johnson is the MNA chair for the Regina nurses and she gave an overview of the situation.

“Regina has always had issues with turnover,” expanded Johnson. “I've worked here for 15 years, and a lot of nurses will come here, especially new grads will come here, get hired to work for us for six months to get their foot in the door with Allina, and then they go up to United. So, I guess we are a feeder hospital for United nurses.”

United Hospital is in St. Paul, a quick commute from Hastings, so it makes sense that having a better contract is worth the short drive, especially if the contract includes options and other items that are important to the workers that are not currently part of the contract in Hastings.

The June 21 picket did coincide with picketing in other areas across the state, such as Duluth and the Twin Cities. Even though they are all part of the MNA Union, their contracts are negotiated separately.

“We want to keep our nurses here. We are just trying to make it better to keep nurses here in Hastings,” added Johnson. “This is an informational picket, it makes the community aware that there is something going on, gets them to ask questions about what is going on and to inform the community because when we work at a small community, we want to retain our nurses. We want to serve our patients to make sure that it's safe staffing for them. With doing this, it makes our community aware, and it points out to the higherups that we're committed to our hospital. We want to serve our patients. We want to be committed to them and we are, and you need to do better.”

Part of the picket was the intent to fully work during the demonstration. No nurses walked off the job to participate and no services were interrupted, an important piece to explain. This picket was done before or after the nurses shifts or on their day off.

Allina released the following statement on the picket: “Allina Health respects the Minnesota Nurses Association’s right to conduct informational picketing during contract negotiations. Since March, we have met with the union seven times to reach an agreement that recognizes the contributions of our employees, while prioritizing the health needs of our community.

“Allina Health has offered an economic package that includes the highest first wage proposal that we have made in nearly 15 years. Beyond offering positive economic gains, we have demonstrated our shared commitment to important issues like diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as safety and security concerns. Additionally, we hope to be able to find common ground around contract changes that address attracting and retaining the next generation of talented nurses.

“Allina Health looks forward to getting back to the bargaining table and bringing these negotiations to a productive end.”