Essentia Health recognizes the MNA as the union representing more than 1,300 nurses in the Twin Ports area. Negotiations began on April 18, 2022. Essentia Health is committed to working through the usual process of bargaining in good faith to come to a mutually agreeable contract.

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – September 20, 2022 Update

Representatives of Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association met today to continue negotiations. The discussions focused primarily on staffing, wages and paid leave. We understand these are key issues for our nurses and believe in the importance of transparency, so we want to make Essentia’s full proposals available to you. Essentia Health offered the following, which we believe reflect our mutual best interests.

Paid Leave

Essentia Health has been listening to our nurses and we recognize that paid leave is important to them. That’s why early in bargaining, on May 2, 2022, we proposed a package that included two weeks paid parental leave and employer-paid short-term disability. At the time, the union indicated they were not interested.  We understand that this issue remains important to our nurses. That is why we included in our wage package paid parental leave and offered solutions to MNA’s stated concerns, by allowing current Essentia Health nurses to choose the paid time off plan that works for them. If current nurses select the PTO program, they would receive two weeks of paid parental leave. Find our package proposal here.

Staffing

We recognize that our nurses want to provide input on staffing, and we want them to know their voices are important on this issue. We have long involved nurses in staffing decisions; it is already part of our collective bargaining agreement. However, we have proposed to modify the current language to make the input more effective and included mediation as a way to further assist in the communication, review, and modification of our staffing levels and assignments.

Outside of the bargaining table, we have:  

  • Invested in nursing extender programs.
  • Increased the number of staff serving on the floors in non-clinical roles to help support nursing team members by delivering patient food, cleaning rooms, completing administrative tasks and providing general support to our nurses.
  • Enhanced shift bonuses and retention benefits to recognize the dedication of our nurses.
  • Created a residency program that allows new nurses support when they need it most.
  • Developed creative recruiting efforts to bolster our nursing team numbers which allowed us to hire 462 nurses last year.

Staffing will continue to be a priority for us. Find our staffing proposal here.

Compensation

We believe we need to be bold and innovative to continue to provide the quality, affordable and accessible care our patients deserve into the future.  Our nurses told us that we need to attract and retain entry level nurses and show them achievable wage increases that values their experiences as they begin their nursing journey. That is why Essentia proposed a bold new approach to compensating nurses that benefits all nurses by attracting and retaining nurses in the early years of their careers.

The proposal:

  • Reduces the time it takes to reach the top rate of pay from approximately 20 to 10 years.
  • Introduces the concept of mini-increases for entry-level nurses to keep them at the bedside during the period hospital systems see the highest turnover.
  • Increases compensation tied to education and professionalism.
  • Adds opportunities for attractive schedules by allowing Essentia to post 12-hour-shifts, and shifts that fit nurses’ desired schedules.

Find our proposed wage grid here

Taken in conjunction with Essentia’s recruitment and retention efforts outside of the bargaining table, this approach addresses the attraction and retention concerns raised by our colleagues. Essentia remains open to working with the MNA to find mutually agreeable solutions that value our experienced nurses, while still helping Essentia recruit and retain nurses and provide the accessible, affordable, quality care our patients expect. 

Read all the proposals discussed today here.

We have offered dates to the MNA for future bargaining sessions, and we look forward to getting those scheduled as soon as possible so we can continue our negotiations toward a mutually beneficial agreement.

 

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – September 15, 2022 Update

Essentia Health facilities in Duluth and Superior welcomed back our MNA-represented nurses with open arms. We are glad to have our regular skilled, compassionate team once again taking care of our friends and neighbors.

Thanks to thoughtful contingency planning and the commitment and resiliency of our extended care teams, our Twin Ports facilities have been able to fulfill our calling to provide high-quality patient care.

We are looking forward to resuming talks with the MNA to reach a mutually beneficial agreement that supports quality patient care and good local jobs. To help accomplish this, we have offered dates to the MNA to schedule our 18th bargaining session.

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – September 10, 2022 Update

Representatives of Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association met for the 17th bargaining session today. The discussions focused on staffing and work assignments. The MNA said it appreciated Essentia’s work on the proposal, however discussions did not lead to an agreement.

At the end of the day, the MNA provided an economic proposal. The MNA is proposing a wage increase of 27% over three years, plus many other economic demands. We cannot say yes to this because we do not believe this is responsible. Essentia values its nurses and is proposing 10% over three years, plus an immediate 1% bonus.

While we hoped to reach agreement, we ended negotiations for the day because we did not believe there was sufficient movement that would lead to an agreement prior to the MNA’s planned strike this Monday.

We are disappointed that the MNA has called a strike. We want to assure our patients and communities that our hospitals will remain open and accessible. We have extensive contingency staffing plans in place to preserve our ability to deliver the highest standards of patient care.

Essentia will continue to negotiate in good faith in pursuit of a mutually beneficial agreement that supports quality patient care and good local jobs, including continuing to request mediation, which the union has consistently declined. We look forward to scheduling another bargaining session.

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – September 7, 2022 Update

Representatives of Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association conducted bargaining today. The parties had good and lengthy discussions about a package proposal from the MNA that included wages and staffing, and Essentia offered a counter proposal. Discussions also focused on workplace culture. No tentative agreements were reached, but the parties agreed to add a bargaining session on Saturday, September 10, to continue advancing negotiations.

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – September 1, 2022 Update

Essentia Health urges mediation to reach agreement with MNA

Today Essentia Heath issued this news release regarding the MNA strike notification:

Along with several other health systems across the state, Essentia Health on Thursday received a 10-day strike notice from the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA). This impacts hospitals in Duluth, Superior and Moose Lake.


We are disappointed that the MNA has called a strike. It is our belief that we have a shared responsibility to care for the communities we’re privileged to serve. At Essentia, we’re proud to have some of the finest nurses in the world; they are an integral part of that commitment. We look forward to reaching an agreement that benefits them while continuing to provide expert, compassionate — and uninterrupted — care for our patients.


Progress has been made in talks, but significant gaps remain.
The MNA is seeking a 32.5% wage increase over three years. Essentia offers competitive wages, sign-on and shift bonuses, tuition reimbursement/assistance and numerous other benefits. A 32.5% wage increase on top of that package is not sustainable. We are currently offering a 10% wage increase over three years.


Because of these gaps, we have repeatedly requested mediation, which the union has consistently declined.


Please note that today’s notice does not guarantee a strike will occur. Essentia will continue to negotiate in good faith in pursuit of a mutually beneficial agreement that supports quality patient care and good local jobs. Additional bargaining sessions are scheduled for next week.


Essentia’s hospitals will remain open and accessible throughout this process. Should a strike occur, we have contingency staffing plans in place to preserve our ability to deliver the highest standards of patient care.


In response to today’s announcement, Essentia joined other Minnesota health systems in filing an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The MNA failed to give the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services a required notice. It is our hope that by filing this charge we can return our focus to the bargaining table; we must exhaust every option to avoid a work stoppage. That is why we took this step.


We respect the MNA’s right to call a legal strike. But they have not done so in this case, and we have a responsibility to provide patient care without disruption. The MNA would challenge any perceived failure to follow regulatory process on our part. We are holding them to the same level of accountability and urging them to continue bargaining with us.

 

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – August 29, 2022 Update

Representatives of Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association conducted bargaining today. During the last session, August 9, 2022, Essentia Health provided a full response on all open issues, which included withdrawing its proposals related to PTO and health insurance, per the MNA’s request. While the MNA responded on some economic issues, they did not move off of their economic proposal of 32.5% of increases over 3 years or substantively respond to the remaining proposals that Essentia Health offered earlier in the month. Essentia Health made movement on the MNA’s responses regarding baccalaureate and certification pay. Essentia Health also engaged the MNA in discussions about staffing and offered possible ways to address MNA concerns. Essentia Health inquired again about mediation but received no response.

Essentia remains committed to bargaining in good faith toward a mutually beneficial agreement. Essentia is hopeful the MNA will accept the request to bring in neutral mediators to reach an agreement as quickly as possible. The next bargaining session is scheduled for September 7.

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – August 16, 2022 Update

Patient care is our primary concern and Essentia Health is proud to have some of the best nurses in the country.

We are disappointed that nurses represented by the MNA have voted to authorize a strike. Please note, however, that this vote does not mean a strike is imminent, it gives union leaders the ability to call a strike should they choose that path.

We believe no one wins in a strike – and we have a shared responsibility to provide quality care to the patients and communities we are privileged to serve. Should it become necessary, we have contingency plans to ensure we can continue to care for our patients in the event of an MNA strike.

We are confident we can reach a new agreement that continues to support quality patient care and good local jobs because of our strong track record of reaching mutually beneficial agreements. In the past five years, Essentia Health has successfully negotiated more than 60 agreements with eight different unions representing 44 bargaining units across our facilities.

Essentia remains committed to reaching a new agreement as quickly as possible, leading to an enhanced work experience for MNA-represented nurses at Essentia facilities while continuing to support high-quality patient care. The next bargaining session is scheduled for August 29.

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – August 9, 2022 Update

Representatives of Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association conducted bargaining today. While progress has been made during the 14 meetings since bargaining began, much work remains. Tentative agreements have been reached on a number of issues, including:

• Casual status
• Holiday scheduling
• Dual licensure
• Non-discrimination policies
• Low-need days

We continue discussing staffing, as well as wages and benefits. Our most recent proposal continues current benefits and would provide a wage increase of 10% (4%, 3%, 3%) over the three-year term of the contract. This wage proposal is more than was agreed to during our last negotiations. In contrast, the MNA is seeking a wage increase of 32.5% (14%, 9.5%, 9%) over the same time period, plus increased differentials and bonuses.

Essentia feels the wage increase proposal we have on the table is reasonable. However, with the parties so far apart on this issue, we have asked the MNA to join us in requesting an independent federal mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to help us move forward. A mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service has been engaged in previous negotiations and has helped the parties come to mutually beneficial agreement. After repeatedly declining the opportunity to involve a mediator, the MNA is considering the request, to which we hope they will agree.

Essentia remains committed to reaching a new agreement as quickly as possible, leading to an enhanced work experience for MNA-represented nurses at Essentia facilities while continuing to support high-quality patient care. The next bargaining session is scheduled for August 29.

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – August 3, 2022 Update

Representatives of Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association conducted bargaining today. During today’s exchange, the MNA gave a revised proposal on staffing which Essentia reviewed, then the sides engaged in lengthy, candid discussions focused on staffing levels and scheduling. Essentia is committed to reaching a mutually beneficial agreement and will continue to bargain in good faith. To help achieve this goal of reaching an agreement as quickly as possible, Essentia has offered mediation, which has been successful in the past. The next bargaining session is scheduled for August 9.

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – July 21, 2022 Update

Representatives of Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association conducted bargaining today. During today’s exchange, discussions were had around 12-hour shifts and educational development. Though tentative agreements were not reached both parties were able to gain a greater understanding of each other’s interests. Essentia is committed to reaching a mutually beneficial agreement and has offered mediation, which has been successful in the past. Essentia will continue to bargain in good faith with the goal of reaching an agreement as quickly as possible. The next bargaining session is scheduled for August 3.

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – July 12, 2022 Update

7/12/22

Representatives of Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association conducted bargaining today. There were productive discussions on several issues, including staffing and loan forgiveness. Essentia provided an overview of the real time location system (RTLS) and answered questions from the MNA team. Essentia will continue to bargain in good faith with the goal of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement as quickly as possible. The next bargaining session is scheduled for July 21.

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – July 5, 2022 Update

7/5/22

Representatives of Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association conducted bargaining today. Discussions progressed, with the parties reaching tentative agreements on casual status and confirmed work agreements. Progress was also made regarding personal holidays. Essentia will continue to bargain in good faith with the goal of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement as quickly as possible. The next bargaining session is scheduled for July 12.

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – June 30, 2022 Update

6/30/22

Representatives of Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association conducted bargaining today. The session was respectful and cordial. As of July 1, 2022, the existing agreement between Essentia and the Twin Ports nurses represented by the MNA has expired. Essentia will continue to bargain in good faith with the goal of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement as quickly as possible. The next bargaining session is scheduled for July 5.

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – June 17, 2022 Update

6/17/22

Representatives of Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association conducted bargaining today. The day began with a scheduled Essentia presentation on the nurse residency program and there was also discussion on staffing. The parties then broke to allow the MNA to caucus. The MNA returned later in the afternoon to offer responses to outstanding proposals.

At the end of the day, Essentia requested that MNA agree to bring in mediation services to assist the parties in reaching an agreement. The MNA declined. Mediation is the assistance of a neutral third-party to help advance bargaining to a successful conclusion. The next bargaining session is scheduled for June 30.

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – June 13, 2022 Update

6/13/22

Representatives of Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association conducted bargaining today. The parties continued to work through non-economic and economic issues in a deliberate way and made some progress on contract language. The next bargaining session is scheduled for June 17.

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – June 9, 2022 Update

6/9/22

Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association, representing nurses in the Twin Ports area, continued contract negotiations on Thursday, June 9. Incremental progress was made on a number of outstanding proposals. The next bargaining date is scheduled for Monday, June 13, with additional sessions on the calendar.

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – May 26, 2022 Update

5/26/22

Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association, representing nurses in the Twin Ports area, continued contract negotiations on Thursday, May 26. Essentia responded to open MNA proposals, including the union’s initial economic proposal. The next bargaining date is scheduled for Thursday, June 9.

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – May 20, 2022 Update

5/20/22

Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association, representing nurses in the Twin Ports area, continued contract negotiations on Friday, May 20. They had productive discussions around proposals related to hours and flex scheduling. The next bargaining date is scheduled for Thursday, May 26.

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – May 2, 2022 Update

5/2/22

Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association, representing nurses in the Twin Ports area, continued contract negotiations on Monday, May 2. The MNA team shared its initial economic proposal and Essentia Health requested clarification on several points. There was also discussion about Essentia’s paid time off proposal. Tentative agreement was reached on a number of other proposals. The next bargaining date is scheduled for Friday, May 20.

 

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – April 25, 2022 Update

4/25/22

Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association representing nurses in the Twin Ports area continued contract negotiations Monday, April 25. We have reached tentative agreement on the MNA’s proposal on uniforms and on parts of several other union proposals.


Both sides sought and received additional clarification on each other’s proposals and have indicated that they are prepared to put forward additional counter proposals and revisions next week. Essentia will be bringing internal experts to the next meeting to discuss more details about its PTO proposal, based on our discussion today.


We believe we are well-positioned to continue productive discussions at our next bargaining session scheduled for Monday, May 2.

 

Essentia Health and Minnesota Nurses Association Bargaining – April 18, 2022 Update

4/18/22

Essentia Health and the Minnesota Nurses Association representing nurses in the Twin Ports area began contract talks Monday, April 18, 2022. We are committed to engaging in good-faith bargaining and reaching a mutually agreeable settlement that supports our Mission of making a healthy difference in people’s lives, keeping Essentia nursing jobs among the best in the communities we are privileged to serve and supporting excellence in patient care. We look forward to these negotiations being productive because we have a long history of reaching mutually acceptable agreements with the MNA for more than 50 years across our system.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below is a representative sample of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the bargaining process and what it means for MNA and Essentia Health.

 

Essentia Health recognizes the MNA as the union representing more than 1,300 nurses in the Twin Ports area. Essentia Health and the MNA are negotiating new terms and conditions of employment to follow the expiration of the current agreement on June 30, 2022.

Essentia Health began meeting with the MNA on Monday, April 18, 2022, and will be meeting with the MNA periodically as negotiations progress.

Essentia Health has a history of reaching successful agreements with the MNA across our system, and we are committed to reaching a similar outcome in the Twin Ports area this year. We also remain committed to providing seamless, high-quality care to our patients and their families while we work through the bargaining process.

Essentia Health is committed to working through a range of issues of interest to both parties in a deliberate way through the usual process of bargaining in good faith. This site will post any significant developments in negotiations.

Still Have a Question?

For additional information or relevant questions not addressed here, email the Essentia Health team at bargaining@essentiahealth.org.