Minnesota nurses strike avoided by tentative agreement

Health

Nurses strike Monday, Sept. 12, 2022 outside North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, Minn. (David Joles/Star Tribune via AP)

(NewsNation) — Multiple hospital systems reached a tentative agreement with the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA), calling off a planned strike.

MNA announced the planned strike against what it calls unfair labor practices has been called off as “nurses prepare to vote on the tentative agreement.” If approved, new contracts would include unprecedented language detailing how the understaffing of bedside nurses would be handled. 

Last week the MNA voted to approve a three-week strike starting Dec. 11 after unsuccessful contract negotiations between hospitals and the nurses union. Union leaders announced that 15,000 nurses across the state planned on striking from 7 a.m. Dec. 11 through 7 a.m. Dec. 31 citing unfair labor practices. 

New contracts would grant nurses more autonomy regarding staffing, including language to: “Prevent reductions in staffing levels without consensus between nurses and management; help protect nurses from discipline when they raise concerns about unsafe assignments; and to trigger reviews of staffing levels by nurses and management in response to key measures of patient and nurse wellbeing and outcomes.”

“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.”

Mary C. Turner, RN at North Memorial Hospital and President of the Minnesota Nurses Association.

Nurses in 15 hospitals across the state had planned on striking, including those in the Children’s Minnesota, North Memorial, Allina Health, Essential Health and St. Luke’s health systems. This strike would have been a substantial jump from the one conducted in September which went on for three days. 

After several months of stalled negotiations, hospital executives are now offering three-year contracts for 15,000 nurses across the Twin Cities and Twin Ports with pay raises of 18 percent over the three years for Twin Cities nurses and 17 percent for nurses in the Twin Ports. The wage increases are the largest won by MNA nurses in over two decades. Negotiation leaders are recommending nurses vote “yes” to the proposed contracts in hopes that it will improve conditions for union members and patients. 

Looking to the future of Minnesota nurses, Chris Rubesch, RN at Essentia in Duluth and first vice president of the Minnesota Nurses Association, said,“This tentative agreement is a critical step to address the chronic short-staffing and other corporate health care policies hurting patients and nurses at the bedside. With new staffing language and fair wage increases, nurses are empowered to continue the fight to protect care in our communities”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as NewsNation continues to follow negotiations.

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