FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hennepin nurses have been in wage reopener negotiations with the county health system for months, win 2022 wage increases competitive with other metro-area hospitals
Nurses continued their campaign to hold executives accountable to protect staff and patient safety this week, sending a letter with other union workers to hospital leadership
“We’re thrilled that our nurses were able to secure such a historic wage increase. Throughout this pandemic we have worked tirelessly with limited resources. But with that also comes heart break,” said Jeremy Olson-Ehlert, RN, an MNA Chair at Hennepin Healthcare. “Our nurses continue to suffer violence and assaults in our hospital. Nurses continue to leave the bedside faster than our hospital can hire. Threats of unsafe nurse staffing levels are a common theme, and we are tired of it. We are now entering into full contract negotiations and our priority is safety for nurses and our patients.”
Wage reopener negotiations occur part-way through an existing contract and address wages only. The tentative agreement will now be voted on by Hennepin MNA members, with nurse negotiation leaders recommending a yes vote. While these wage increases may help to retain Hennepin nurses by matching increases won at other metro-area hospitals, they do not address the serious concerns with workplace safety and under-staffing which Hennepin nurses have raised after reports of violence increased as much as 200 percent in one year. In August, nurses held their first-ever informational picket to call out management inaction on these issues which threaten to drive nurses away and to negatively impact patient care.
“Our team has been fighting for months for a fair wage. We are pleased that the efforts of Hennepin nurses, together with other Twin Cities nurses, lead to a positive outcome for all our MNA nurses,” said Janell Thiele, RN, an MNA Chair at Hennepin Healthcare. “Nurses have been – and continue to be – undervalued, but this increase is a step in the right direction. We are hopeful Hennepin Health executives will come to the bargaining table in good faith this spring with the mutual goal to implement real measures to retain our current nurses and keep nurses and patients safe.”
Just this week, MNA nurses joined other union workers at Hennepin Healthcare to call on hospital management to take the issue of workplace safety seriously, and to take action to protect workers and patients within the hospital before conditions worsen. Nurses are committed to continuing the fight to protect their patients and their profession at Hennepin Healthcare as they begin negotiations for a new three-year contract with Hennepin executives.