15,000 nurses to strike as they fight for fair contracts that put Patients Before Profits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Sam Fettig
(c) 612-741-0662
sam.fettig@mnnurses.org
Lauren Nielsen
(c) 651-376-9709
lauren.nielsen@mnnurses.org

Nurses at 16 hospitals in the Twin Cities, Twin Ports, and Moose Lake to strike for three days beginning September 12 as hospital executives refuse solutions to short-staffing, retention and better patient care

As many hospital CEOs continue to take significant raises on multi-million-dollar salaries, executives offer nurses just 4 percent in average annual wage increases   

VIDEO: Watch video of nurses announcing their intent to strike.

(St. Paul and Duluth) – September 1, 2022 – This morning, nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association announced that 15,000 nurses throughout the state plan to strike for three days beginning September 12, 2022, as they fight for fair contracts to put patients before profits. The strike is believed to be the largest private-sector nurses’ strike in U.S. history, and it comes as nurses have negotiated with hospital executives for more than five months and have worked without contracts for the last several months. The strike will be the first that Twin Cities and Twin Ports nurses have taken together in contract negotiations.

“Hospital executives with million-dollar salaries have created a crisis of retention and care in our healthcare system, as more nurses are leaving the bedside, putting quality patient care at risk,” said Mary C. Turner, RN at North Memorial Hospital and President of the Minnesota Nurses Association. “Nurses do not take this decision lightly, but we are determined to take a stand at the bargaining table, and on the sidewalk if necessary, to put patients before profits in our hospitals.”

Today’s announcement follows a vote last month by the 15,000 nurse members to authorize a strike. That vote passed with overwhelming support, well beyond the two-thirds majority required. Since that strike vote, nurses have met for additional negotiations with hospital executives who have continued to refuse solutions to short-staffing, retention and better patient care. Following the vote by Twin Cities and Twin Port nurses, nurses at Moose Lake also voted to authorize a strike and will join other nurses in striking on September 12.

“Corporate healthcare policies in our hospitals have left nurses understaffed and overworked, while patients are overcharged, local hospitals and services are closed, and executives take home million-dollar paychecks,” said Chris Rubesch, RN at Essentia in Duluth and First Vice President of the Minnesota Nurses Association. “Nurses have one priority in our hospitals, to take care of our patients, and we are determined to fight for fair contracts so nurses can stay at the bedside to provide the quality care our patients deserve.”

Right now in Minnesota, nurses are overworked, hospitals are understaffed, and patients are overcharged. While hospital CEOs with multi-million-dollar salaries have refused to negotiate with nurses over solutions to the crises of short-staffing, retention and patient care, the problems are getting worse: recent studies show that more nurses are planning to leave the bedside while adverse events for patients are increasing.

Nurse negotiation leaders today filed the required 10-day notice to hospital employers to strike on September 12 at the following 16 hospitals under seven hospital systems:

HospitalSystem + CEOCEO CompensationPay Ratio to Avg. RN
RiversideM Health Fairview, CEO James Hereford$3.5M40 to 1
Southdale
St. Joseph’s
St. John’s
St. Mary’s DuluthEssentia Health,
CEO David Herman
$2.69M38 to 1
St. Mary’s Superior
Essentia Moose Lake*
MethodistHealthPartners,
CEO Andrea Walsh
$2.4M28 to 1
Abbott NorthwesternAllina Health,
CEO Lisa Shannon
$1.76M21 to 1
Mercy
United
Unity
Children’s MinneapolisChildren’s Hospitals,
CEO Mark Gorelick
$1.4M17 to 1
Children’s St. Paul
North MemorialNorth Memorial,
CEO J. Kevin Croston
$1.3M16 to 1
St. Luke’sSt. Luke’s,
Co-CEOs Eric Lohn and Nicholas Van Deelen
$700K+10 to 1
*Essentia Moose Lake nurses will join the strike on September 12 seeking their own fair contract with Essentia Health.

Since negotiations began in March, nurses have pressed hospital executives both at the bargaining table and in public over the need to negotiate with nurses to solve the crises of short-staffing, retention and care in our hospitals. Nurses held informational pickets at 15 hospitals throughout the state in June, launched an advertising campaign exposing the effects of corporate healthcare policies in Minnesota hospitals and recently announced that nurses had voted “No Confidence” in hospital executives.

Minnesotans who want to learn more and support nurses are encouraged to visit MNPatientsBeforeProfits.com where they can sign a petition of support and receive email updates, submit a story about their experience in Minnesota hospitals, donate to the nurses’ strike fund, or change their profile picture in support of MNA nurses.

While nurses seek solutions to short staffing and retention, hospital executives have insisted on focusing on wages. Despite the fact that hospital executives continue to earn significant raises on their million-dollar salaries – such as M Health Fairview CEO James Hereford, who took a 90 percent raise in 2019, bringing his salary to over $3.5 million – these same CEOs are offering nurses average annual increases of only around 4 percent, well below the current rate of inflation and climbing cost of living. Hospital CEOs with million-dollar salaries can afford to put Patients Before Profits in our hospital and to do right by Minnesota nurses.

Nurses in the Twin Cities have been working without a contract since May 31, 2022; contracts for nurses in the Twin Ports expired on June 30, 2022. Nurses in Moose Lake have been working without a contract for two years since Essentia purchased their facility and refused to recognize the nurses’ existing contract.

###

13 Comments

  1. I was raised with Unions. I believe in Unions. I won’t cross a picket line, however Nursing is such a vital part of our moral integrity to life saving and protecting the vulnerable, sick, injured, weak, helpless, adults, elderly, and children. I find it difficult to support an all out Strike! In a world we’re we have intelligent humans & obviously you all have IQ’s on the higher side, I would think you could come up with a plan that could work for everyone! With our world being so uncertain. From the stock market to politically, maybe it’s time negotiate only a two year plan. Do something though. I don’t believe what the CEO’s of a company makes has anything to do with what nurses get paid. You don’t take money away from them for your salaries. There salary is based on how well the business of that facility is doing. Asking for a 30% increase over 3 years is More than anyone I know would expect and might be what you deserve but does seem extreme! Reach a compromise. First off you have RN that deserve the most by seniority – then LVN.and so on… Like
    7% per year for RN got 2 years – 5% LVN – 4% ?
    Just an idea. But be reasonable! On. both Sides!
    Nurses should not have to stop taking care of patients under their care!! Oh my God! That will be a disaster. And a disgrace in my opinion of greedy corporate CEO’s and greedy employees!!
    Everyone settle down! Consider the entire package they can put together for you! Everyone be flexible!! Come on’ Don’t be Stupid-Stubborn!!

  2. Do you realize this is only going to hurt patients and all the staff that supports the doctors, nurses and do a lot to keep the hospitals running?!?!?!

  3. 4% raises? I wish.

  4. It is a ABSOLUTE Atrocity that those in the C suites are profiting off we Nurses!!! I support you all MN. Nurses!!

  5. Stand your ground, nurses!

  6. LACEY MURPHY, that’s a load of BS.

    Were hospital executives thinking of the patients when they intentionally shortsaffed shifts and offered sub-par wages/benefits to their overworked employees? Tell me how it’s beneficial for patients have tired, overworked, disgruntled nurses providing them care. Hospital executives create these awful situations for their employees and patients, then victim blame when their employees complain and try to do something about it. Giving themselves ludicrous salaries when nurses are struggling to pay rent is just insult to injury. They’re a healthcare company for cying out loud. You think they have a shortage of all that insurance money? If anyone deserves better working conditions and higher wages, it’s our brave and hard working nurses who battled through the pandemic to help those in need.

    You really wanna sit there and imply Nurses don’t care about their patients? If nurses aren’t treated with respect and get what they deserve,
    Patient care also suffers as a natural byproduct. This is a manufactured crisis by hospital executives’ needless greed. They will still be making unfathomable amounts of money even if they give everything the union wants.

  7. This message is going to both labor and management. Please do the right things and compromise to settle this issue NOW. It is vital to patient care! I am scheduled for major surgery next week. #SettleNow!

  8. I think the union is way off base here and way too extreme, which in the end will end up hurting the nurses they claim to represent. Yes, keeping safe staffing is important, but 30% raise over three years? I don’t believe the union is negotiating the other issues fairly or in good faith, either. Disappointing.

  9. It is LEADERSHIP’S role to keep hospitals fully staffed, nurses shouldn’t be expected to work for low pay and in the worst conditions… THOSE things put patients in danger, and they are looking out for patients by demanding better conditions.

    Claiming this will hurt patients only demonstrates why the strike is necessary. If they don’t strike, conditions will get worse.

  10. Making this about an insane pay increase completely negates the argument that you’re doing this for patients. All you’re going to do is pass costs onto those patients.

  11. The 40-1 ratio means nurses are making $87,500 a year at M Health Fairview. If you can’t pay rent on that amount, that’s on you, not your employer. The help patients need is more beds and nurses available to treat them. I don’t see how paying nurses $113,750 a year is going to help with understaffing or lack of treatment facilities. Stopping throwing travel nurses under the bus because they make different decisions than your own. If you want to go make $300/hour being a mercenary, more power to you. But don’t pull others down because they make different decisions than you. Makes you sounds like my shitty dad.

  12. Sad. If you haven’t been a nurse you shouldn’t speak on this. Our own health care coverage is less than desirable. Our health care costs are high. We give our soul to other people’s family but we are not taken care of. We often go 12-16 hrs without a break. You may be surprised to hear that dealing with some people who are entitled, angry, misinformed or just plain lack skills is very difficult, for lack of better words. On top of that we are not allowed to protect ourselves physically or emotionally. We don’t get to have an opinion or have biases. We must treat everyone the same no matter what names they are calling us or how many times we are verbally threatened or otherwise. We care for everyone. We don’t DO nursing…we are nurses. It is within us to help but we cannot be kicking posts any longer.

  13. As an employee at one of these effected hospitals (In a support role not a nurse) I stand with the nurses on this one. Whether I agree with the exact level of raise or not the amount offered is to low, and ignores the other issues at play. I’ve seen the hours they work, the lack of staff, the issues with retention. That the suits upstairs get such vast pay while any of us down below struggle is unreasonable. There is power in a band of working folk, use that power, better your positions that you may thrive while providing the best care possible. If that means the CEO takes a cut, and the executives take a cut, then good, they should take a cut. Pay the nurses, hire more, provide better hours.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.