Hastings nurses not waiting for answers

5 Nov
Regina Medical Center

Nurses hope Regina Medical Center gets improvements to continue to care for the Hastings community

Nurses at Regina Medical Center in Hastings are a determined bunch, and they want parity. For now, they’ll take answers.  About 30 of them attended the latest round of bargaining talks to meet with management and make a statement that they support their negotiating team.

One hitch:  management heard that nurses wanted to attend, and their bargaining team stayed in their caucus room rather than come out and meet them.  The employer, forgot, however, that their caucus room has a window to the sidewalk.  So, nurses tracked down their meeting room and made their statement through the window to force the employer’s negotiators to turn around and see them.

“They’re disgusted.  They’re frustrated.  They want it settled,” said chair Jane Traynor.  “They were energized about it (the session).  They’re disappointed management wouldn’t meet with them and it gave them a taste of what we (the negotiating team) have been going through.”

What nurses have been going through has been the run-around.  Despite beginning bargaining in April, nurses learned in July that Regina was being sold to Allina Health, but they’ve heard no explanations about how the sale affects their contract.

Nor have they said anything about Allina’s Metro contract being a model for Hastings nurses, who also work in the 7-county Twin Cities metro.

“Nurses want what Allina nurses have.  We are not second rate,” Traynor said, “We have to maintain the same credentials as any other nurse.  We deserve the same pay and the same benefits.  We don’t want to set a precedent in Hastings to accept less and have that become the rule for Abbott or other Allina nurses.”

Allina just held two mandatory meetings for staff but spent the session showing a PR video about Allina’s mission.  Management said they do want to be “compassionate” and “fair” to employees but also that they’re “solidifying” positions.

“That means layoffs,” Traynor said, “People are worried about their jobs.  And they didn’t say anything about that.”

Allina also hasn’t made a commitment to the Hastings community.  Regina Medical Center’s clinics and hospitals need work, including a new ER, and nurses hope new investment will allow Hastings nurses to take care of their neighbors.

“We have an older population here.  It’s difficult for them to go to the (Twin) cities,” Traynor said.

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