MNA Nurses to Picket Virginia Hospital Over Contract

Media Advisory

Contact:  Rick Fuentes
(o) 651-414-2863
(c) 612-741-0662
Amber Smigiel
(o) 651-414-2849
(c) 651-202-0845

July 27, 2020 (St. Paul) – Virginia nurses working for Essentia have filed the required ten-day notice of intent to hold an informational picket August 3 to alert patients they continue to work without a contract that respects their work. Members of the Minnesota Nurses Association have been without a contract since August 1, 2019. They have engaged in good faith bargaining with negotiators of the Virginia hospital, but management continues to stall and demand concessions from workers.

“We are committed to giving our patients quality care,” said Jodi Hensley, a Registered Nurse at the Virginia hospital. “The short staffing that we’ve had at Essentia makes quality care more difficult, and they’re asking us to care for more patients with fewer nurses. If we can’t have the time to properly assess our patients, it can adversely change a patient’s outcome.”

Meanwhile, nurses are considering leaving their positions at Essentia due to short staffing, increasing healthcare costs, and more incidents of workplace violence. Nurses are calling for proper staffing, increased security, and continued training to care for a more aggressive patient population, including those with behavioral health issues.

“Since the city of Virginia sold to Essentia, nurses have been very concerned about the quality of care to patients and families,” said Diane Maki, a registered nurse at Virginia hospital. “Nurses and other staff are looking elsewhere for jobs where healthy leadership is in place, where they can go home and feel they had a good day and not apologize there wasn’t enough time to care for patients successfully.”

The informational picket is not a work stoppage. All participants will be on off-work hours. Patient care will not be affected. All participants will be encouraged to wear masks and appropriately social distance during the picketing.

WHAT:     Informational Picket

WHERE:  901 9th St N, Virginia, MN 55792

WHO:       Hundreds of Essentia Registered Nurses and supporters

WHEN:     Monday, August 3, noon – 5:30 p.m.

WHY:        To protest working conditions and failure to secure a fair contract

HOW:        Picketing and leafleting will be done with respect to social distancing
and personal protection