Hospital strike, union news: Two strikes pending, more workers vote to unionize

Approximately 12,000 Minnesota nurses remain poised to hold a one-day strike, but as of May 26, the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) had not filed a strike notice with the 14 Twin Cities-area hospitals involved in the contract dispute, reports the Minnesota Daily. (The MNA must give 10 days' advance notice of a strike.) Both the MNA and the hospitals agree that a strike can be avoided. However, contract negotiations are at a standstill due to disagreements over staffing levels and pensions. And a gesture of solidarity from Ken Paulus, CEO of Allina Hospitals and Clinics (which owns five of the 14 hospitals involved), doesn't appear to have broken the ice. Paulus decided to work without pay until an agreement is reached--a move that is "a very nice gesture ... but it's not going to do anything to resolve the contract," MNA spokesman John Nemo tells the Minnesota Tribune.

In Worcester, Mass., about 1,300 housekeepers and lab workers employed by UMass Memorial Health Care voted to reject a new two-year contract, reports the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. Approximately 97 percent of the workers represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1445 authorized a strike, says Union Vice President Douglas Belanger. The union will have to provide 10 days notice of a strike but plans to request a federal negotiator be brought in before taking such a step.

In Los Angeles, approximately 700 employees, including surgical technicians, physical therapists and pharmacists, at USC University Hospital will vote this week on whether to switch to a new union amid allegations that the hospital has harassed union organizers and sought to sway employee votes, reports the Los Angeles Times.

In El Paso, Texas, workers at two hospitals voted to unionize, reports El Paso Inc. At Las Palmas Medical Center, registered nurses and nonprofessional staff (e.g., service and maintenance workers) all decided to form unions. At Del Sol Medical Center, At Del Sol Medical Center, technicians, nursing assistants, dietary, housekeeping and other employees voted to unionize, and nurses are expected to vote sometime this week.

To learn more:
- read this Minnesota Daily article
- read these Minnesota Tribune articles: article 1 or article 2
- read this Worcester Telegram and Gazette report
- read this Los Angeles Times article
- read this El Paso Inc. article

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