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Essentia Nurses Accept Contract, St. Luke’s Union Schedules Strike Vote

Essentia nurses voted Tuesday night to accept a three-year contract. Essentia nurses voted Tuesday night to accept a three-year contract.  |  Photo: WDIO/Glenn Kellahan

Baihly Warfield
Updated: September 10, 2019 10:39 PM

Nurses at Essentia have voted to accept a three-year union contract agreement, while their counterparts at St. Luke's are readying for a possible strike.

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"The Essentia nurses are happy to put this difficult bargaining process behind us," Chris Rubesch, a negotiations team member, said. "We're looking forward to focusing on our patients and delivering the top-notch healthcare that Duluth patients deserve."

The three-year deal includes:

  • Pay increases of 3% for the first two years and 2.25% for the third year
  • Student loan reimbursement of $2,400 for a two-year degree and $3,600 for a four-year degree
  • Extra emergency department pay to ensure staffing meets patient demand
  • Workplace violence protections to help injured nurses before worker's comp kicks in

St. Luke's nurses begin bargaining again Wednesday morning. However, the Minnesota Nurses Association said they have also scheduled a strike vote for Thursday, Sept. 12 if a tentative agreement is not reached.

The strike vote means the negotiation team can call a strike if they choose. It must pass by a two-thirds majority. MNA said the negotiating team would then decide if, when, and how long a strike could take place.

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Baihly Warfield

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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