Healthcare workers in Minnesota have voted to authorize a strike that will affect eight hospitals in the Twin Cities metro area. Of the 3,500 members of the Service Employees International Union Healthcare Minnesota, 91% voted in favor of the strike. The union represents nursing assistants, emergency room technicians, maintenance workers, and food service personnel.
The union is in the midst of negotiations with the hospitals, in which the hospitals are seeking contract changes that would allow for greater flexibility with limited resources. Union officials claim that the contract changes would take away from workers who already agreed to a wage freeze in 2009. Although the healthcare workers have authorized the strike, the union will need to give the hospitals a minimum of 10 days' notice prior to enacting a strike.