FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Rick Fuentes
(St. Paul) – March 26, 2020 – Nurses working at M Health Fairview hospitals voted overwhelmingly to indicate they have “no confidence” in hospital management’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. Nurse members of the Minnesota Nurses Association work at University of Minnesota Medical Center-West Bank, Fairview Southdale, St. Joseph’s, St. John’s, and Bethesda hospitals.
“M Health Fairview is flagrantly violating the safety and staffing protections jointly agreed to by nurses and management, and yet our incredibly dedicated nurses are still throwing themselves into harm’s way to protect the public,” said Modest Okorie, a Registered Nurse at Bethesda Hospital.
There are countless issues that MNA members have been demanding for weeks prior to this crisis point. Nurses believe that the health system must address their preparedness plans that nurses believe are putting the public at greater risk rather than containing the outbreak. MNA filed a Request for Information (RFI) with M Health Fairview looking for equipment levels, proper procedures, instructions and resources for protection for nurses, including gowns, showers, and reassignments. That information has not been forthcoming.
MNA nurses have also been in negotiations with M Health Fairview for these procedures. Despite verbal agreements at the table, M Health Fairview has reneged on the promises made by negotiators in its written proposals.
“The vast majority of nurses within the entire M Health Fairview system have voted that they have no confidence in their leadership, CEO James Hereford and Chief Nursing Executive Laura Reed,” Okorie said.
With no agreements in place, M Health Fairview has continued to unilaterally implement changes to the terms and conditions of nurse contracts, despite nurses’ demands to bargain over these issues.
“Our members can and will do the work of protecting the community, but they need to be assured that they will have the appropriate training, protective equipment, and support from administrators that seem to be handling a global pandemic from Ivory Towers,” Okorie said.