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St. Luke's asks nurses to delay raises to help during pandemic

Updated: July 09, 2020 07:28 PM

St. Luke's asked its nurses to delay the raises written into the labor contract, to help during the pandemic. That's according to the Minnesota Nurses Association, which met with the hospital on Wednesday.

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Pete Boyechko, the MNA co-chair of the St. Luke's bargaining unit, told us, "We were willing to delay the raises for six months and delay tuition reimbursement for six months. Those two items would be nearly $750,000 worth of financial liability the hospital wouldn't have to worry about for the next six months." He added that 50 nurses had taken a voluntary furlough.

But they also wanted new language in the contract that would guarantee their contract would stay in place if the hospital had to sell or merge. 

"They were not able to agree to that, so we stopped negotiating," Boyechko said. 

St. Luke's sent a statement on Thursday that reads:  "St. Luke's attempted to engage the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) in a collaborative fashion to explore opportunities to help manage expenses during this time of national crisis. St. Luke's proposed that the MNA delay a wage increase as other employees have been furloughed, experienced a reduction in hours or have taken compensation reductions. The MNA's response was that unless we would agree to significant structural changes in the overall contract, they had no interest in working with St. Luke's to help preserve jobs by reducing expenses.

It is disappointing that someone shared these private discussions with the media, along with speculation that St. Luke's was being sold. At no point, in this discussion or any other discussion with the MNA, did an acquisition or merger with any other health system, including the Mayo Health System, come up. These are purely rumors. St. Luke's is not and has not been in talks to merge with or to be acquired by another organization. We cannot imagine why anyone would spread false statements during these unprecedented and anxiety-filled times.

We greatly appreciate all those from the community and our employees who have come forth with ideas to support St. Luke's through this pandemic. We are fortunate to have an incredible team that has developed a solid plan to care for our community, now and into the future."


 

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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