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Published April 19, 2024

M Health Fairview reaches tentative deal with mental health workers amidst strike

Workers postponed their joint strike with Allina after seeing contract negotiations move forward.
Image by Emily Pofahl
M Health Fairview hospital pictured on Feb. 17, 2021. The hospital resides on the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus.

M Health Fairview reached a tentative contract agreement on Monday night with roughly 350 mental health workers who were scheduled to join a three-day strike with Allina workers. 

The 18-month deal comes after a “marathon” 12-hour bargaining session Monday night, according to a press release from SEIU Healthcare Minnesota & Iowa, the union representing the workers. With the contract, workers will receive a 6% average immediate wage increase, with an additional 2.75% increase in March. 

The contract also establishes increased paid time off, initial grievance procedures and increased wage transparency and predictability. Union members will vote in the coming weeks whether to approve the agreement. 

“Because of our efforts, we reached the best deal possible for our important work and I am proud of what we accomplished,” 20-year psych associate Jenny Webster said in the press release. “So many people have experienced mental health issues themselves or to a loved one, especially during the pandemic. Raising wages and getting a first contract will mean better care for our patients.”

The bargaining group, which is comprised of M Health psych associates and behavioral assistants, joined SEIU Minnesota & Iowa in 2021. Prior to this agreement, M Health’s workers went on strike with Allina mental health union members in May. 

Over 130 Allina workers began their three-day strike on Monday. According to a statement, MHealth workers were planning to join Allina’s walk-out until the group saw negotiations progress on Wednesday. Allina’s negotiations have not had the same success, and their strike is ongoing throughout Minnesota. 

“We’re pleased to share that after many months of negotiation, we reached a tentative agreement with SEIU,” M Health Fairview officials said in a statement. “With the help of a skilled federal mediator, we were able to find common ground that is equitable across the team, is sustainable for our organization and keeps the focus where it should be: on our patients.”

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