15,000 MNA nurses authorize unfair labor practices strike; planned to start strike Dec. 11
UPDATE: 12/1 – Union leaders spoke about the results of the vote at the Union’s headquarters in St. Paul on Thursday morning. There, officials said a strike is planned to start at 7:00 a.m. starting Dec. 11 and last through 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31.
Meanwhile, nurses at St. Luke’s in Duluth and at Lake View Hospital in Two Harbors also plan to strike starting Dec. 11, but no end date has been announced.
Members of the Minnesota Nurses Association, which represents 15,000 nurses in the Twin Cities and Duluth areas, voted to authorize a second strike on Wednesday.
Watch a press conference from MNA officials Thursday morning from our sister station, KSTP.
(ABC 6 News) – Wednesday, 15,000 nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association in the Twin Cities, Twin Ports, and Two Harbors voted overwhelmingly to authorize an unfair labor practices strike in their fight for fair contracts to put patients before profits and to solve the crisis of care and working conditions in hospitals.
The strike authorization comes as nurses in the Twin Cities and Twin Ports have negotiated for eight months with hospital executives and have worked without contracts since summer. Nurses in Two Harbors also voted to authorize an unfair labor practices strike in their own fight for a fair contract to put patients before profits.
“Our hospitals are in crisis, and our CEOs have failed nurses and patients. They have failed to solve the crisis of patient care, and they have failed to solve the crisis of working conditions pushing nurses away from the bedside,” said Mary C. Turner, RN at North Memorial Hospital and President of the Minnesota Nurses Association. “Nurses are fighting to win contracts that will help nurses stay on the job to provide patients with the exceptional care they deserve. Hospital CEOs with million-dollar salaries can afford to put Patients Before Profits in our hospitals and to do right by Minnesota nurses.”
While nurses have made every effort to negotiate in good faith and win fair contracts at the negotiating table, hospital executives continue to commit unfair labor practices, including colluding to keep wages down for nurses, direct dealing with nurse union members, and refusing to provide information necessary for the bargaining process. Since negotiations began in March, nurses have pressed hospital executives both at the bargaining table and in public over the need to negotiate with nurses to solve the crisis of care and working conditions in our hospitals.
“At the same time hospital CEOs tell us there is no money to retain staff and prioritize care, executives are taking million-dollar raises and pursuing corporate expansions that put community access to affordable care at risk,” said Chris Rubesch, RN at Essentia in Duluth and First Vice President of the Minnesota Nurses Association. “Nurses and patients need safe staffing and quality care in our hospitals, not more corporate healthcare policies. We are ready to fight and win fair contracts to hold hospital CEOs accountable to our communities.”
Hospital CEOs continue to take multi-million-dollar salaries while failing to solve the retention crisis pushing nurses out of the profession, negatively impacting care for Minnesota patients. There is no shortage of nurses in Minnesota, but deteriorating care and working conditions are driving more nurses to leave the bedside. While adverse events increase for patients and conditions deteriorate in Minnesota hospitals on the watch of hospital CEOs, more than half of all nurses are considering leaving the bedside in the next year.
Nurses voted overwhelmingly to authorize a potential unfair labor practices strike, which required a two-thirds majority of votes to pass. The vote authorizes nurse negotiation leaders at the sixteen hospitals below to call an unfair labor practices strike following a 10-day notice to hospital employers.
*Nurses at St. Luke’s Lake View Hospital joined 15,000 nurses in the Twin Cities and Twin Ports to vote to authorize an unfair labor practices strike in the fight to put patients before profits in our hospitals
Minnesota nurses previously held a historic three-day strike in September, believed to be the largest strike of private-sector nurses in United States history. In their fight for fair contracts to put patients before profits, nurses have also launched an advertising campaign exposing the effects of corporate healthcare policies in Minnesota hospitals, announced that nurses had voted “No Confidence” in hospital executives, and confronted hospital board members over the failure of our CEOs to solve the problems in our hospitals while continuing to take significant raises on their million-dollar salaries – such as M Health Fairview CEO James Hereford who took a 90 percent raise in 2019, bringing his salary to over $3.5 million.
Nurses in the Twin Cities have been working without a contract since theirs expired on May 31, 2022; contracts for nurses in the Twin Ports expired on June 30, 2022. Nurses at St. Luke’s Lake View Hospital in Two Harbors have been working without a contract since September.