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Union workers called off a five-day strike set to begin Saturday at the St. Therese nursing home in New Hope after winning a tentative agreement that guarantees a recent $5 raise will become permanent.

Nursing home and SEIU Healthcare MN & Iowa union officials confirmed Thursday that the strike was called off after both sides met during an all-day session Wednesday to hash out disagreements.

A letter was sent to patients and their families Thursday notifying them there would be no strike and thanking them for their patience.

About 200 workers called for the strike late last week after learning about plans to sell St. Therese to Compass Healthcare, a for-profit company, effective Aug. 1.

SEIU officials and St. Therese workers said they were surprised by the sale and worried the new owners might not honor recent pay adjustments because they were not formally included in a new contract agreement.

The previous contract expired in October, and workers said efforts to secure a new pact had gone nowhere. They also complained that the nursing home declined to make the $5 raise, or "adjustment," permanent by putting it in writing.

The disagreement over the sale and pay prompted the strike decision, which drew concern from patients, their families and the state. Minnesota Department of Health officials said they met with the nursing home this week to review strike plans and ensure patient safety in the event the nurses, assistants and janitors walked off the job.

Union members still must ratify the tentative agreement.

"We are very pleased to have come to a resolution with the SEIU union," St. Therese CEO Craig Abbott said in a statement. "As a result of our collective and collaborative efforts, there will be no strike at our New Hope senior community on Saturday.

"We deeply respect our health care workers and the care and services they provide to our residents. We have been, and continue to be, committed to doing the right thing for all St. Therese employees."

The tentative agreement came about "because we stuck together," said Kpana Farwenel, a St. Therese certified nurse and member of the SEIU bargaining team. "Our work is so important and we are fighting to make sure we are respected and our pay was protected. We are glad that this deal does that."

The full details of the deal have yet to be disclosed. For now, it is known that the nursing home agreed to lock in the $5 raise given to workers affected by the pandemic. The increase has appeared on worker paychecks as a "market rate adjustment," not permanent wages.

Had the walkout occurred, it would have been the second time in three months that St. Therese workers hit the picket lines. In March, SEIU members from 12 Twin Cities nursing homes went on strike for one day. St. Therese was the last of the 12 to reach a tentative labor contract.