Nurses Ask for More Staffing at Essentia Health, St. Luke’s

Minnesota Nurses Association members ask Duluth City Council to talk to the hospitals on their behalf

DULUTH, Minn. – Nurses at Essentia Health and St. Luke’s say the hospitals are not providing enough staffing for them to give patients proper care.

This as the facilities are planning major expansions of $800 million and $300 million.

According to the Minnesota Nurses Association, Essentia Health employs about 1,200 nurses in Duluth. St. Luke’s employs about 630.

Nurses voiced their concerns to the Duluth City Council Monday night.

They’re asking the council to talk to the hospitals so the nurses can get what they call a fair contract.

The Nurses Association has been negotiating with the hospitals for several weeks but they feel their staffing concerns have not been addressed.

“You can have a nice, fancy, new facility, but you need to have the people there to deliver the care that facility is capable of delivering,” said Pete Boyechko, a Registered Nurse at St. Luke’s.

Essentia and St. Luke’s both released statements about the nurses’ concerns.

Essentia said in part:

“We are privileged to have some of the best nurses in the country, and we are committed to reaching a mutually agreeable settlement that continues to support excellence in patient care and a safe work environment.”

Meanwhile, St. Luke’s said in part:

“We are encouraged by the progress we have made with the Minnesota Nurses Association in negotiating a new nursing contract. We reached tentative agreements on nearly 20 different subjects.”

Boyechko tells us it’s important to the Nurses Association to have public support as they work for a resolution.

He says a strike is possible in the future if an agreement isn’t reached, but it’s not planned for now.

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