September 15, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sam Fettig
Press Release: https://bit.ly/3UgBefe
(St. Paul and Duluth) – September 15, 2022 – Today, 15,000 nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) returned to work after their historic three-day strike, believed to be the largest private-sector nurses’ strike in United States history. Throughout the strike at 15 hospitals in the Twin Cities and Twin Ports, an overwhelming number of nurses walked the picket line at each hospital, joined by patients, fellow workers, elected officials, and other community supporters.
“Out on the picket line this week, nurses built our collective power like never before,” said Mary C. Turner, RN at North Memorial Hospital and MNA President. “When our executives refuse to fully staff our hospitals and continue to push nurses out of the profession, that is a public health crisis. I hope the collective action of 15,000 nurses this week shows our CEOs that we are serious about solving this crisis – and I hope hospital executives will finally join us to work towards solutions. Nurses stand ready to return to the bargaining table next week to settle fair contracts to improve care and working conditions at the bedside.”
Nurses have been bargaining for six months over new contracts, seeking changes to address the crisis of understaffing and retention in our hospitals. There is no shortage of nurses in Minnesota, but deteriorating care and working conditions are driving more nurses to leave the bedside. Recent studies show that more than half of all nurses are considering leaving the profession while adverse events for patients are increasing.
“Corporate healthcare policies are devastating our communities, care at the bedside, and healthcare workers,” said Chris Rubesch, RN at Essentia Duluth and First Vice President of the Minnesota Nurses Association. “Hospital executives are closing facilities and charging patients more while taking home multi-million dollar salaries. This week, thousands of Duluth and Superior nurses joined nurses across the state to demand that hospital executives put the focus where it belongs in our hospitals: on patient care at the bedside, not the bottom line.”
In contract negotiations, MNA nurses are asking for a seat at the table when staffing decisions are made, to address under-staffing and overwork and to keep more nurses at the bedside. But in six months of negotiations, hospital executives with million-dollar salaries have refused to negotiate with nurses over solutions to the crises of short-staffing, retention and patient care. Contracts for nurses in the Twin Cities expired on May 31, and contracts for nurses in the Twin Ports expired on June 30, 2022.
As the three-day strike concludes, nurses stand ready to resume negotiations to win fair contracts to protect patient care and the nursing profession at the bedside. After hospital executives cancelled previously planned negotiation sessions this week, nurses look forward to working towards a fair contract as bargaining meetings are scheduled for the coming week. Hospital executives with million-dollar salaries can afford to make the changes necessary to protect care and working conditions at the bedside.
Hospitals where nurses went on strike this week are listed below.