FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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
(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:
|System + CEO
|Pay Ratio to Avg. RN
|M Health Fairview, CEO James Hereford
|40 to 1
|St. Mary’s Duluth
CEO David Herman
|38 to 1
|St. Mary’s Superior
|Essentia Moose Lake*
CEO Andrea Walsh
|28 to 1
CEO Lisa Shannon
|21 to 1
CEO Mark Gorelick
|17 to 1
|Children’s St. Paul
CEO J. Kevin Croston
|16 to 1
Co-CEOs Eric Lohn and Nicholas Van Deelen
|10 to 1
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.