Minnesota Nurses Association Announces Largest Nurses’ Strike in U.S. History – Scrubs

About 15,000 nurses in Minnesota and Wisconsin have announced plans to strike in 10 days due to the current nursing shortage. According to the Minnesota Nurses Association, this will be the largest nurses’ strike in US history. The demonstration will last three days and will affect nurses from 16 different hospital systems, including those in Duluth and the Twin Cities as well as Lake Superior, Wisconsin.

“Hospital executives with million dollar salaries have created a retention and care crisis in our healthcare system as more and more nurses leave the bedside, putting the quality of care at risk. patient care,” said Mary Turner, registered nurse at North Memorial Hospital and president of the Nurses Association of Minnesota.

“Nurses are not making this decision lightly, but we are determined to take a stand at the bargaining table, and on the sidewalk if necessary, to put patients before profits in our hospitals.

The union has been negotiating with the hospital systems it serves since March, but talks have stalled in recent weeks. Nurses are demanding a permanent solution to the staffing and retention crisis and a 4% annual salary increase.

The union authorized the strike in a vote on Thursday. Allina Health responded to the news in a written statement.

“We are disappointed that the union is choosing to rush into a strike before it has exhausted all options, such as engaging a mediator in negotiations which it has repeatedly rejected. The union’s premature decision to move forward with a work stoppage is not Allina Health’s desired outcome of our negotiations. We have made progress this week at the bargaining table and a strike only serves to prevent our valued nurses from working alongside our care team to provide needed patient care,” the company said.

Nurses are giving the system 10 days notice, so it can start making arrangements to keep hospitals open.

“We understand that patients still need care. And that’s why the law requires that we give ten days’ notice to allow hospitals to make alternate plans, hire traveling nurses, and do whatever it takes to continue providing care to our patients. But we also know that if we don’t take that stance, nothing will change, Minnesota Nurses Association and RN first vice president Chris Rubesch told Essentia.

Staff say the problems started during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Allina hasn’t done much to fix the problem.

“I have seen staffing and patient care issues continue to be a concern throughout this time. COVID-19 has certainly shown a big, big spotlight on the issue. But the problem of staffing, recruiting and retaining nurses has been an issue for much longer than that. We’ve been sounding the alarm about this for decades,” Rubesch explained.

Representatives of the MNA said that the union had looked for alternative solutions before authorizing the strike, but that they now have no choice but to take their message to the streets.

“We have tried legislatively, we are now trying to bring solutions to the contract table and solve the problem that way. The hospitals say no, they are not interested there. So we’re really driven to take this unprecedented step because we have no other choice. We are trying to work collaboratively to find creative solutions to the staffing crisis, and we really cannot continue with the status quo,” Rubesch said.

The union points out that there are more registered nurses in the state now than at any time in history, but that’s not enough to meet the growing demand for care.

“We are not just the nurses providing the care, but in our community, we live here. We are patients ourselves. Our family members. Our parents. Our neighbours. Our patients. And that’s why we’re doing it because we know what’s happening is not sustainable. We know that if we don’t find a solution to the staffing crisis, we won’t have enough caregivers to take care of our community. And that’s just not acceptable,” Rubesch said.

He wants to see hospitals do more to help get more nurses into the field.

“We lack nurses ready to work in these conditions. And so we are happy to have and recruit these graduates, but we have to retain and bring the nurses back to the bedside. Nurses are scared for their licenses, Rubesch shared. They are afraid of what they are being asked to do, to do more with less. They are concerned about the care they provide to their patients,” he said.

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Andrew B. Reiter