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Workers at Montevideo, Minn., nursing home ratify agreement, avert strike

MONTEVIDEO -- Workers at Luther Haven have ratified a new three-year labor contract that averts a possible strike at the skilled nursing facility in Montevideo.

Workers approved the agreement in a vote Wednesday, according to Ryan Nagle with Service Employees International Union-Health Care. The bargaining unit represents about 135 to 140 of the 180 full-time employees.

Workers had authorized a strike that would have started on Saturday. A tentative agreement reached on Nov. 21 led workers to postpone the action until a vote could be held. Workers had called attention to the labor issues when they set up an informational picket outside of the 92-bed, skilled nursing facility on Oct. 13.

Nursing home administrator Jim Flaherty and the SEIU-Health Care jointly issued a news release announcing the agreement.

Workers had expressed concerns about staffing levels and a management contract offer that effectively froze wages.

The two parties did not release details about the new agreement, but stated that the new agreement "will continue the ability of Luther Haven and its workers to provide high-quality care to their residents as well as improvements in wages to recruit and retain dedicated care givers."

The nursing home had noted that the state froze reimbursement rates since 2009, and Medicare rates have deceased by more than 11 percent since Oct. 1. The reductions represented a $70,000 revenue loss to Luther Haven this year, according to Flaherty.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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