Nurses Will be Off ‘Strike Status’ by Sunday Morning
For Immediate Release
Contact: Rick Fuentes
(St. Paul) – October 13, 2016 – A majority of the striking nurses represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association have voted in favor of the tentative agreement with Allina Health reached on October 11.
Nurses from Abbott Northwestern, Mercy, Phillips Eye Institute, United, and Unity hospitals voted to ratify the contract today.
“This contract represents compromise and strength by the nurses,” said MNA Executive Director Rose Roach. “While it’s nowhere near what nurses deserve, they can hold their heads high. They can rest easy knowing they won a “no diminishment” clause, so even though they are moving to the corporate health insurance plans, they have assurance that the value of their benefits won’t be reduced in any future cost-cutting scheme.”
Nurses will pull the strike notice and return to their jobs under terms of the return-to-work agreement reached on Tuesday morning.
“The nurses sacrificed their livelihoods and their families’ security to win improvements to patient care through a staffing procedure that will examine and review the impact of charge nurses having patient assignments,” said MNA President and North Memorial Medical Center Registered Nurse Mary Turner. “The issue of safe staffing is far greater than one job classification, which is why nurses focused from day one on negotiating staffing ratios. Nurses left their jobs and health benefits so they could win workplace safety guarantees, such as better training and a round-the-clock security guard in the emergency department – for themselves and their patients.”
“Nurses have spoken,” said Abbott Northwestern Hospital Registered Nurse and Negotiating Team Member Angela Becchetti. “We are now looking forward to getting back to our patients. I hope Allina realizes this should have never happened. If Allina’s negotiating team had listened to nurses last winter and worked with us on staffing and workplace safety, and made a case on changing insurance, nurses would have helped them find a solution that didn’t require spending millions of dollars on replacement nurses.”
“To Allina we say: as a member-run union, the nurses make the decisions,” said Roach. “Rest assured, this isn’t the last time you will hear nurses speak out. The wounds inflicted on the nurses since February will not heal overnight. Nurses have continually felt disrespected and devalued. Nurses are determined to keep speaking up for their patients and their profession as they return to the bedside. I hope Allina will listen and work to re-establish trust with the nurses and ensure maximum patient safety and care.”