Thousands of nurses at Minnesota hospitals launch strike seeking wage increases of 30%

MINNEAPOLIS — 1000’s of nurses in Minnesota launched a three-day strike Monday, complaining of low salaries and understaffing worsened by the strains of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 15,000 nurses at seven well being care programs within the Minneapolis and Duluth areas walked out. The affected hospitals mentioned they recruited momentary nurses and anticipated to keep up most companies.

Picket indicators went up and strike chants started at 7 a.m. exterior 15 Twin Cities and Duluth space hospitals.

The hospitals and the putting nurses mentioned workers shortages are a shared concern.

Minnesota Nurses Affiliation president Mary Turner mentioned pay raises are essential to handle the “disaster of retention” that will in any other case depart the hospitals severely understaffed.

Nurses strike outside North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, Minn., on Sept. 12, 2022.
Nurses picket Monday exterior North Memorial Well being Hospital in Robbinsdale, Minn.David Joles / Star Tribune through AP

The hospitals have supplied 10-12% wage will increase however the nurses are in search of greater than 30%. Hospital leaders referred to as their wage calls for unaffordable, noting that Allina and Fairview hospitals have posted working losses and that the price of such sharp wage will increase can be handed alongside to sufferers.

“The union rejected all requests for mediation and held quick to wage calls for that had been unrealistic, unreasonable and unaffordable,” a number of of the Twin Cities hospitals beneath strike mentioned in a joint assertion.

Second-year nurse Madi Homosexual, who was picketing Monday morning after finishing her in a single day shift, told the Star Tribune that she had already decreased her hours at M Well being Fairview Southdale Hospital due to the stress and frustration of caring for thus many severely unwell sufferers.

“How lengthy can you retain this up?” Homosexual requested. “My license is on the road.”

Union spokesman Sam Fettig mentioned the nurses settled on a three-day fairly than open-ended strike due to considerations concerning the influence of drawn-out labor motion on affected person care.

“Because the nurses at all times say, this isn’t one thing they need to be doing, they need to be on the bedside offering care,” Fettig mentioned.

Hospitals argued that the proposals by the union and its nurses are too pricey.

“It simply isn’t a practical quantity,” Paul Omodt, a spokesman for a number of of the Minneapolis-area hospitals, mentioned final month.

The hospitals affected by the strike included these operated by Allina Well being, M Well being Fairview, Youngsters’s Hospital, North Memorial and HealthPartners. In Duluth, it was Essentia and St Luke’s.

As union members in Minnesota walked the picket line, UW Well being nurses and the UW Hospital board in Wisconsin accredited an settlement meant to avert a strike that had been scheduled to start out Tuesday, a spokesperson for the nurses’ union mentioned Monday.

Nurses and directors didn’t instantly launch particulars of that settlement. The hospital board and 97% of nurses who voted accredited the deal, in accordance with SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin.

The Minnesota nurses’ strike comes amid an upsurge in union exercise nationwide.

A nationwide railroad strike may start as early as Friday except Congress steps in to dam it. The 2 largest railroad unions have been demanding that the main freight carriers transcend a proposed deal really helpful by arbitrators appointed by President Joe Biden.

Some high-profile corporations, together with Starbucks, are amongst these attempting to stifle ongoing unionization efforts. Since late final 12 months, greater than 230 U.S. Starbucks shops have voted to unionize. Starbucks opposes unionization.

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