Press Release: Allina Nurses Ask for Mediator to Settle Unresolved Strike Issues

Press Release: Allina Nurses Ask for Mediator to Settle Unresolved Strike Issues

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Rick Fuentes
(o) 651-414-2863
(c) 612-741-0662
rick.fuentes@mnnurses.org

Contact: Barbara Brady
(o) 651-414-2849
(c) 651-202-0845
barbara.brady@mnnurses.org

 

(St. Paul) – October 11, 2017 – One year after the strike ended, nurses represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association have taken formal steps to redress ongoing staffing issues at Allina Health hospitals in the Twin Cities, which were mutually agreed to in the 2016 contract agreement.

“The contract issue remains the role of the charge nurse,” said Emily Sippola, a charge nurse at Allina-owned United Hospital.  “To settle the strike, Allina management agreed to work with nurses to take away a mandatory patient assignment from the charge nurse.  One year later, we’re still waiting.”

A charge nurse oversees a particular unit in the hospital.  The charge nurse’s duties include doling out assignments, assisting less experienced nurses, tending to emergent situations, and taking care of hospital equipment.  Most charge nurses don’t have their own patients to care for, but continued short staffing at Allina hospitals has required them to have their own patients as well as running the floor.

“It’s like flying a plane while also working as an air traffic controller,” Sippola said.  “You wouldn’t want to be a passenger on that plane or a patient whose nurse is also directing traffic.  Nurses have been calling out this growing safety risk to patients.  It’s a big reason why nurses felt they had to go on strike last year.”

Nurses at Abbott, Mercy, United, and Unity hospitals have formally demanded a mediator step in and help resolve the contract issue.

They also delivered a petition to company headquarters, the Allina Commons, the afternoon of Wednesday, October 11.  Nurses from each Allina-owned hospital in the Twin Cities signed the petition.

“Nurses have been meeting with some Allina managers at the hospitals already,” Sippola said, “but we still don’t have a company-wide plan to staff enough nurses to ensure the charge nurse can do his or her job without jeopardizing a patient’s care.”

Despite reaching a contract agreement that settled the nurses’ strike on October 11, 2016, it’s clear nurses are disappointed that Allina Health leaders have not kept their word on this issue.  Hundreds of nurses have left Allina hospitals for other jobs in the Twin Cities.  MNA nurses returned to work last fall working alongside some of the replacement nurses who took their jobs during the strike.

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3 Comments

  1. When is MNA going to insist that emplyers preotect nurses when they encounter violence like I did. It ended my career early and Ill never be the same with this head injury. Bonnie

  2. An important role of the charge nurse is determining nurse/patient assignments based on acuity (how sick a patient is). An important role of the charge nurse is being the mediator in a behavioral rapid response. An important role of the charge nurse is determining appropriate bed assignments. To perform these roles, the charge nurse needs knowledge of the nurses’ experience, the patients’ conditions, and the nurses’ education. The charge nurse cannot perform those roles adequately if they are assigned patients. The hospital needs to budget for more nursing positions.

  3. This is an issue at HCMC too, and there are many Concern for Safe Staffing forms filled out by Charge Nurses when this happens. It is not safe for patients or nurses and degrades nursing care. To expect a nurse to do both roles is to imply that one of the roles is unimportant. The question nurses are asking on a regular basis these days is ” So what do you want me NOT to do today?” It’s unmanageable and unsafe. And the responsibility for this situation lies squarely with administrators who refuse to hire and staff appropriately.
    We stand in solidarity with Allina Nurses in their efforts to remedy this situation!

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