For Immediate Release
Contact: Rick Fuentes
(St. Paul) – June 13, 2019 – Nurses represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association voted overwhelmingly to reject the latest offer by Children’s Hospitals of Minnesota and authorize the negotiating team to call a strike.
A hospital strike must be authorized by a supermajority of the membership there, and the decision of when a strike would begin and how long it would last will be decided by the elected nurse members of the negotiating committee.
“Nurses feel devalued and disrespected,” said Elaina Hane, a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit nurse at Children’s St. Paul campus. “Nurses are prepared to do what it takes to get a fair contract.”
Nurses have been negotiating with Children’s hospitals since March over insurance and wages with little progress. Nurses have told their stories at the bargaining table of skyrocketing insurance premiums and high deductibles, but the the hospital’s negotiators have chosen to ignore these concerns.
“We have repeatedly asked for solutions that would prevent nurses from constantly depleting savings or going into debt to pay for medical costs. Eventually, nurses may have to decide whether they can afford to enter the profession,” said Michelle Cotterell, a sedation nurse at Children’s Minneapolis campus.
Nurses have made progress with the hospital on some issues. After Children’s nurses had two informational pickets, hospital negotiators reversed their position and offered the same workplace violence proposal that Methodist hospital offered its nurses.
A strike at Children’s hospitals may begin at any time after 10 days have passed once MNA issues a strike notice to the hospital.
“Nurses were willing to accept lower wages and benefits when Children’s was hurting from the recession,” Hane said. “Now that the hospital is back on its feet, the nurses’ contract needs to catch up and prevent nurses from losing money working at the hospital.”