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Allina case may boost management power over union

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The settlement of the recent strike by  nurses at Minnesota-based Allina Health, a nonprofit hospital system, may strengthen management’s power  in healthcare labor relations .

During negotiations, Allina said it would only settle if striking nurses made concessions on their health benefits. After a 37-day strike, Allina nurses gave up their union health benefits in favor of Allina’s corporate health plan.

The company’s hiring of 1,500 replacement nurses to fill shifts, which kept the strike from disrupting operations, put it in a strong bargaining position.

Allina bosses’ refusal to back down on benefits “probably emboldens other healthcare organizations around the country to consider the same approach,” Roger King, a labor lawyer at the District of Columbia’s HR Policy Association, told  Minnesota Public Radio.

Fierce Healthcare noted: “That’s not to say healthcare leaders won’t do everything in their power to keep labor disputes from escalating to that point; hiring replacement workers is costly and increases the risk to patient safety as well. However, the longer a strike drags on, the more likely it becomes that hiring replacements is the more cost-effective option.”

To read the Minnesota Public Radio article on this, please hit this link.

To read the FierceHealthcare piece on  this, please hit this link.

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