Contact: Rick Fuentes
(St. Paul) – May 22, 2019 – Members of the Minnesota Nurses Association in the Metro area are picketing selected hospitals to take their issues to the hospitals. Today, nurses from across the Twin Cities targeted Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. Negotiations between nurses and hospitals have stalemated over a new contract, even though their contract expires on May 31.
“Nurses have felt disrespected at the bargaining table, and they feel they have to take the issues of workplace safety to the hospitals’ front door,” said Doreen McIntyre, a nurse at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. “Nurses came to negotiations to tell the hospitals in person about violent incidents, about the high cost of insurance, about giving up raises while the hospital recovered from the recession. And… nothing.”
At the last session of negotiations between Children’s nurses and management, the hospital negotiators demanded the nurses drop economic proposals addressing benefits if they wanted to receive workplace violence protections that other hospitals had already offered. When nurses asked for a wage offer, Children’s negotiators walked out.
“Nurses expect to be heard,” said Elaina Hane, a nurse at Children’s in St. Paul. “Nurses are coming forward with issues of feeling scared at work, of struggling to make ends meet with insurance that’s pricing them out of their own healthcare. We want to work together to negotiate a contract that benefits nurses, hospitals and patients.”
Children’s negotiators have agreed to bargain again with nurse negotiators on Friday, May 24. Methodist nurses talk with their employer Wednesday, May 22. Fairview nurses resume negotiations on May 23. Allina nurses talk with the hospital on May 24 also. HealthEast and North Memorial nurses resume negotiations next week.
The pickets may resemble the Allina nurses’ strike of 2016, but this is not a work stoppage. No nurses have left their patients or their jobs. All the nurses who are picketing have scheduled to join the demonstration, even if it’s just a day off.
“The nurses at Children’s, Fairview, HealthEast, Allina, Methodist and North stand together,” McIntyre said. “Nurses must be safe wherever they work, and we deserve a fair contract that raises the standards of the profession so that the best nurses continue to work in Minnesota hospitals,” she said.
Informational pickets take place Thursday, May 23 at United, Children’s St. Paul, St. Joseph’s, and North Memorial hospitals. On Wednesday, May 29, nurses will picket Abbott, Fairview-Riverside campus, and Methodist hospitals.
If nurses and hospitals come to an agreement, that offer will have to be ratified by MNA members in a special vote. If that vote fails after the contract expires, nurses may elect to begin a strike across one or more Metro hospital facilities.