Minnesota Hospital Shuts Down ER and Urgent Care Amid Nurse Strike

October 18, 2021 Updated: October 18, 2021

A hospital in Minnesota confirmed it temporarily shut down its emergency room and urgent care facility due to a nurse strike.

Allina Health, located in Plymouth, told The Epoch Times that due to the strike, emergency and urgent care services at its WestHealth location were suspended from Sunday morning until Wednesday.

“No other services on the WestHealth campus have been impacted,” Allina Health’s statement said before it redirected people to seek urgent or emergency care at its Abbott Northwestern Hospital Emergency Department and other locations.

The City of Plymouth also confirmed that the hospital’s emergency room and urgent care facilities were shut down, releasing a list of nearby locations for emergency services on its website.

About 50 emergency room nurses organized by the Minnesota Nurses Association walked off the job, demanding more benefits and holiday pay, the organization told local media.

“Compensating nurses fairly for holiday pay is especially critical because understaffing by Allina and other hospital systems has required nurses to work more days and longer hours, including overtime and holidays, as they continue on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the nurses association said.

But Allina Health and Abbott Northwestern WestHealth negotiated seven times with the statewide union, noting that a “settlement was previously reached and unanimously recommended” by the union, according to the company’s statement.  However, the Minnesota Nurses Association didn’t finalize the deal and went ahead with the strike, it added.

“Throughout negotiations, we have consistently offered proposals that demonstrate our commitment to our employees, including an immediate wage increase to align wages with other metro hospitals and agreeing to some of the union’s other priority issues,” Allina told The Epoch Times.

But one striking nurse, union chairwoman Sonya Worner, told Fox9 that Allina Health carried out “a diabolical decision to shut down care to the residents, as well as their own revenue.”

“This could literally end tomorrow if we got a call saying, ‘Yes we’ll offer you summer holiday pay as part of this package,’” Worner added.

The nurses’ work stoppage in Plymouth comes as hundreds of thousands of workers in other industries went on strike in recent days. About 10,000 unionized John Deere employees voted to go on strike last week after claiming that the agriculture equipment and tractor manufacturer failed to come up with a contract proposal that met their demands.

Meanwhile, Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers voted earlier this month to authorize a strike in Oregon and California, potentially enabling thousands of nurses, doctors, and other staff to walk off their jobs in the coming days.

Allina Health hasn’t yet responded to a request for comment.

Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.