Progress after 14 hours of negotiations Wednesday prompted mental health workers at the M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center to call off a planned three-day strike.

"The bargaining team can and will refile the strike notice if needed, but are hopeful they are going to be able to reach a deal," said Brenda Hilbrich, executive vice president of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota & Iowa.

A walkout remains scheduled starting Monday for mental health workers at Allina Health's Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, and at the Fridley campus of Mercy Hospital.

Roughly 400 Allina and Fairview mental health workers voted last fall to join the SEIU Healthcare union, but talks since that time have failed to reach a first contract. A one-day strike occurred amid the protracted negotiations earlier this spring.

A written statement from Fairview said "we remain committed to reaching a fair and equitable contract that honors our team members and our shared goals."

While pay and benefit levels have been central to the talks, the hospitals and workers have struggled over the appropriate level of security that increases safety but maintains the personal liberties of patients. Workers have argued that more protection is needed amid crowded hospitals and increasingly agitated patients — conditions that could cause even more burnout.

The 402 openings for psychiatric technicians at the end of 2021 in Minnesota represented 20% of all jobs in the profession, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. There were only 43 openings at the end of 2015.