15,000 Minnesota nurses on strike, citing staffing and patient care issues

The strike is against 13 hospitals in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market, as well as Duluth. It is scheduled to last just three days and the union says the strike is not about pay, but about allowing members to provide the quality care they want to provide to patients.

“We’re not on strike for our wages. We’re fighting for the ability to have a say in our profession and work-life balance,” said Mary Turner, a Covid ICU nurse and president of the Minnesota Nurses Association, the union that develops . the strike.

The union said it has been negotiating with hospital management for more than five months and its members have been working without contracts for the past several months. Although Turner said the two sides have moved closer to each other on wages, they are still far apart in economic terms and have made no progress on union demands to resolve short staffing, retention and better care. good of patients.

Management spokespeople at various hospitals are unable to meet the demands of nurses and that they are doing what it takes to provide uninterrupted care to patients during the strike.

“Allina Health is focused on providing safe, high-quality care throughout the duration of the 3-day Minnesota Nurses Association strike,” said a statement from Allina Health, which owns four of the hospitals now on strike. “A strike is not our desired outcome of these negotiations, and Allina Health has been thoughtfully planning for months.”

‘It is wrong’

Some of the nurses on the picket lines also said they did not want to be on strike, but felt that management’s position was left open.

“It hasn’t been good,” said Brandy Navarro, a nurse at United Hospital in St. Louis. She said she joined the gambling line on Monday after working the Sunday night shift.

“Not feeling appreciated is not okay,” she said. “And people just don’t know how wrong things are. We’re standing up for our patients and standing up for each other.”

There are no talks scheduled for the two sides over the next three days, according to Paul Omodt, spokesman for the Twin Cities Hospital Group, which owns four of the striking hospitals.

Our focus at this time is on our patients,” he said about the lack of negotiations.

“Our hospitals will be staffed with experienced nurse managers and leaders, trained substitute nurses and some existing traveling nurses,” he said. “People may experience longer wait times for services while care teams triage patients. We ask everyone for patience.”

The strike is just the latest example of a growing trend of unions going on strike, or threatening to go on strike, over working conditions rather than strictly over pay and benefits issues.
Unions representing about 57,000 train crews on the nation’s freight railroads are threatening to strike from Friday in what could be the first national rail strike in 30 years. Such a strike could knock the legs out of the still-struggling supply chain and deal another body blow to the US economy.
More than 2,000 mental health professionals are on strike against Kaiser Permanente in California and Hawaii. Union members there say understaffing is depriving patients of care and preventing them from doing their jobs effectively. And teachers in Columbus, Ohio, went on strike at the start of the school year complaining of large classrooms and dilapidated schools, where a lack of heating and air conditioning has created miserable classroom environments. The school district, the largest in Ohio, was quickly established.

Turner said members voted to limit the strike to three days at this time. She said she hopes management will now be willing to negotiate over the staffing and work rules issues that led to the walkout.

“That’s what we’re going to do now. What’s next, I can’t say,” she said. “Hopefully they’ll come back for the table.”

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