Nurses union calls for investigation of Allina finances

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

The impertinence! Says Martin Moylan at MPR, “Allina Health and union leaders for some 4,800 striking nurses are trading increasingly pointed barbs as the strike continues. The union said it figures Allina will spend some $25 million on replacements for striking nurses. Union attorney Mathew Keller questioned whether it’s reasonable for Allina to spend that much money on a strike when it’s demanding much smaller savings on union health benefits. … he said. Union leaders also called on the state attorney general to scrutinize Allina’s executive pay, board membership and finances.”

Meanwhile, WCCO-TV says,Two Minnesota children’s hospitals were named among the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The media company named the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospitals and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota on its ‘Best Children’s Hospitals’ list for the 2016. Now in its 10th year, the list ranks children’s hospitals based on their medical specialties, including (but not limited to) cancer, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology and GI surgery, neonatology, nephrology, orthopedics and pulmonology.”

Hmmm. Patrick Kennedy in the Strib reports, “Private equity investment in Minnesota companies soared in 2015 with $12.9 billion invested in 83 Minnesota companies, up from $7.2 billion in 2014 according to recently published research from the American Investment Council.  … Life Time Fitness headed the list of Minnesota companies with their $4 billion going private transaction….” Anyone ask PiPress employees about their experience with private equity?

In short: a mess. Josh Verges’ story for the PiPress says, “A bloated curriculum, underprepared students and underutilized facilities are driving major budget problems for Minnesota’s largest higher education system, formerly known as Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and now called Minnesota State. Addressing those three challenges will take time, but each could save the system tens of millions of dollars each year, a 24-member task force told the governing board Tuesday.”

Or less than the average university coach who gets fired. Verges also says, “The St. Paul school board fired Superintendent Valeria Silva without cause Tuesday night after butting heads for five months over budgets, student discipline and declining enrollment. Superintendent since December 2009, Silva will serve as a consultant on special projects through Sept. 30, 2017. She’ll get a separation agreement worth $787,500 in salary and benefits, including pension payments through Oct. 1, 2019, which will enable Silva to earn full pension benefits in retirement.”

For the PiPress, Joseph D’Hippolito reports on Minnesota’s one indisputably great team. “With one of their best players nursing an injury on the bench, the Lynx got a pivotal late basket from their defensive specialist, survived some last-second drama and remained undefeated. … The Lynx extended their WNBA-record start to 13-0 and downed the league’s only other unbeaten team on the 19th anniversary of the league’s inaugural game. In no other major professional league had two unbeaten, untied teams with at least 10 victories apiece faced each other until Tuesday.” I say we match ‘em up against the Twins in some neutral game and see what happens.

Speaking of women on the job. MPR’s Tim Nelson says, “Turkey processor Jennie-O Turkey Store has agreed to pay back wages and hire dozens of women in the wake of a federal labor investigation. A U.S. Department of Labor lawsuit alleged the Willmar, Minn.-based company discriminated against qualified female applicants who were looking for jobs at the company from February 2009 to February 2010. The labor department said an administrative law judge has approved a consent decree in the case. The labor department says the company will have to pay $492,000 in back wages to 339 women who were denied entry level jobs at a turkey processing facility in Willmar. The company will also hire 53 women.”

Did Ticketmaster rip you off for Milli Vanilli tickets years ago? With their “handling fees” and all those other airline-like add-ons? Well, forget about collecting a free show in Minnesota. Jay Boller at City Pages says, “Last month’s $400 million Schlesinger v. Ticketmaster settlement means nice music fans were awarded vouchers Monday from the naughty ticket giant …. On Tuesday, Ticketmater supplied the list of free concerts … Of the 428 shows, you’ve got some great options like Bob Dylan, Alabama Shakes, Snoop Dogg, the Cure, and Hall & Oates, as well as options like … well, Barenaked Ladies, Bush, and Def Leppard. One glaring issue for Minnesota music lovers: None of the eligible shows occur within state borders.” How about Ted Nugent at the Muskogee County Fair?

The AP is saying … and I’m NOT making this up: “Trump’s campaign on Tuesday also announced the formation of a new ‘Evangelical Executive Advisory Board’ that will advise the candidate ‘on those issues important to Evangelicals and other people of faith in America,’ according to a release. Members of the new group include former Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. and Faith and Freedom Coalition leader Ralph Reed.” Please, please someone get a video of The Donald and that prayer circle in action!

No surprise here. Brandt Williams at MPR says, “Nearly a week after William Davis pleaded guilty in federal court to 16 charges involving misuse of taxpayer money and conspiracy to commit fraud, his son Jordan James Davis will stand trial for his alleged involvement. The indictment says Jordan managed an ice cream shop funded by Community Action of Minneapolis, the nonprofit run by his father for 24 years. And prosecutors say Jordan later left the position to become a Minneapolis police officer, but still received payments totaling $140,000 over a four-year period.”  

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