Medical workers in the Service Employees International Union Local 113 waged a two-day unfair labor practice strike at Regina Medical Center in Hastings, Minn.
Over 230 medical workers participated, including nurses’ aides, x-ray technicians, physical therapy aides, housekeepers, dietary workers, medical transcriptionists, operating room aides and patient care technicians
The work stoppage was called after the hospital threatened to cut its contributions to employee pensions and raise health insurance fees. Workers feared that these increased costs would consume any proposed pay increase.
Barb Bauer, a cook and baker with Regina for over 20 years, stated after more than 10 hours on the picket line, “It’s a little breezy, but the solidarity, you can’t beat it.” Supporters donated coffee and food for workers throughout the day.
The struggle of U.S. workers to secure health care and retirement benefits will only sharpen as the economy wanes. Recent Obama appointee to the Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag, favors reductions in social security benefits that would apply to all workers age 59 and below.