- About 15,000 nurses from the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) began a three-day strike on Monday, Sept. 12.
- Working conditions and staffing crisis are the center of the MNA’s grievances.
- The decision comes after months of tense, fruitless negotiations.
Fifteen thousand nurses from 16 Minnesota hospitals are on strike across the state, making it the biggest nurses strike in U.S. history. MNA members are asking for increased staffing, better security measures, changes to shift scheduling procedures, and increased wages.
According to the MNA, more than 500 nurses at Children’s Minnesota Hospital – St. Paul have left over the past three years due to stressful working conditions. More than 3,500 concerns for safe-staffing reports have been filed by nurses at the hospital over the last two years.
“This is a fight for our very profession,” Mary Turner, president of the MNA said during a press conference that took place outside of Children’s Minnesota Hospital – St. Paul this morning.
Temporary nurses have been brought to Minnesota hospitals to fill in this week, but it’s unclear if hospitals are adequately compensating during the massive walkout.
Contract negotiations that have taken place over the last four months haven’t led to any successful compromise. The MNA announced its intention to strike on Sept. 1, giving their employers the 10 days notice required by law.
Following the announcement, Essentia Health—one of Minnesota’s major health systems, comprising 17 hospitals—filed an unfair labor practice charge against the MNA with the National Labor Relations Board, demanding that nurses cancel their demonstration and to give hospitals an additional 30-day notice.
In a statement released on Sept. 7, the healthcare conglomerate claimed to need more time to prepare to “preserve our ability to provide patient care,” calling the strike declaration “another oversight from the MNA in its rush to a work stoppage.”
“If they truly cared, they would’ve been listening to our stories of unsafe staffing [and] of workplace violence. And they would’ve at least showed some emotion or acknowledgement of what we were dealing with and what we were asking,” Turner told NurseJournal later the same day.
The MNA proceeded with plans to strike, hoping an agreement would be made before it began, Turner said. According to the press conference, nurses bargained with Minnesota hospitals until late Saturday night and into early Sunday morning, but hospital leadership did not concede and canceled future bargaining sessions scheduled for Tuesday.
The strike will last until 7 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 15 unless an agreement is reached before then. “We are hoping it will be enough to bring them back to the table,” Turner said.
• 15,000 nurses to strike as they fight for fair contracts that put patients before profits. (2022). https://mnnurses.org/15000-nurses-to-strike-as-they-fight-for-fair-contracts-that-put-patients-before-profits/
• Essentia Health files unfair labor practice charge following latest MNA oversight. (2022). https://www.essentiahealth.org/about/essentia-health-newsroom/essentia-files-unfair-labor-practice-charge/
• MNA nurses are speaking about the start of the strike and the status of negotiations as we seek to improve patient care and working conditions at the bedside. (2022). https://www.facebook.com/MinnesotaNurses/videos/811731843329123
• Turner M. (2022). Personal interview.