Nurse Strike to Cost Allina $148 million

Blakely with Money

Once again I depart from the usual topic of my dad and his defiance against all odds to discuss what has become the topic of interest for many families across the Twin Cities, the Allina Nurses’ Strike.

As a husband of an Allina nurse, I want to help people understand components of the nursing strike, as what we hear on the news often leaves people mis-informed. That is why I am going to share with you exactly how much money Allina is positioned to spend before the strike is over.

We know from public information that Allina spent $20.4 million dollars in the June strike that lasted 7 days. Most of these costs went toward temporary replacement nurses from around the country (flights, hotel, transportation, signing bonuses, and wages).

It has been widely assumed that Allina will spend approximately $20 million dollars as well during the first week of the current strike that started on Monday, September 5th.

This means that Allina has spent $40 million dollars going into the 2nd week of striking.

Recently I discovered a post by Nurse Bridge, the temp agency that Allina hired to staff the strike, advertising the Allina strike on their website.

In this job posting, they are claiming pay upwards of $8,000 per week.

I would say it is safe to assume that Allina is paying Nurse Bridge at least $12,000 per week per nursing candidate.

This would allow for Nurse Bridge to pay upwards of $8,000 to each nurse, as well as pay for hotel, transportation, and any signing bonuses, let alone pocketing some money to remain profitable.

By that estimate…

Allina is spending at least $18 million per week during the strike.

This is not factoring in any additional costs, or any reduction in revenue due to reduced patient traffic.

On top of that, there have been reports of another posting from Nurse Bridge asking for temporary nurses to sign up for a 5-week contract starting September 19th, running through October 25th.

This means only one thing…

Allina is preparing for a 7-week strike.

Before we even begin to discuss the fact that Allina is preparing for a record setting nurses strike, let’s get back to the numbers.

  • 1500 replacement nurses costing Allina $12k per week
  • $20 million spent in week 1 of the current strike
  • $20 million spent in the June strike
  • 6 additional weeks at $18 million per week

That leaves us with $148 million dollars, should the strike last until October 25th.

If Allina was truly willing to come back to the table, they wouldn’t be planning for the longest nurses strike in the history of this state.

Let’s review some truths.

Back in February, Allina told the union that transitioning the nurses to their corporate plans would “save Allina Health $10 million (per year).” Being that the MNA contracts last for 3 years, this would amount to $30 million in savings over the life of the contract.

Not only has Allina spent more money during this strike than what they were claiming to save, but are planning on spending nearly 5 times that amount, just to keep the lights running.

Side note: The union provided Allina with a proposal to move to the corporate health plans prior to the September strike, but Allina walked away from the table stating that they were still too far away from a deal.

From the information they have provided, this does not make economical or business sense in the least.

Something else is going on in the upper echelon of the corporate behemoth that is Allina Health.

What it is, I cannot say for sure, but there is one thing that is for certain…

The corporate executives and board of directors have a little secret that they are not willing to share.

Only time will tell.

What can I do to help?

The most important thing you can do is show your support for the nurses. If you are feeling generous, please donate to the MNA’s strike fund (yes anyone can donate).

 

What does this mean for striking nurses?

In the coming days and weeks, Allina will start to get desperate.

You will know this is happening when their public relations stunts get nastier and more intense. They will use increased scare tactics to make you think the strike will never end, or that you will be in financial ruin if you do not cross.

Stay strong.

If you are worried about finances, please apply for assistance through the MNA’s strike fund. At the start of this strike, there was over $4 million available in the fund. If you are considering crossing due to finances, then the strike fund is meant for you.

In terms of health coverage, if you do not return to work before October 1st, you will lose coverage. This is one of the tactics Allina may plan to use to scare you into returning to work.

Please understand, you have up to 60-days to back-pay COBRA should a medical emergency arise, and the IRS will forgive upwards of 2 months of no coverage, so there will not be a tax penalty for not having coverage.