St. Luke’s Nurses Vote to Strike, Hospital Says Could Cause Reduced Services
Strike set for October 8th.
DULUTH, Minn.- Nurses with St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth have voted to strike after months of failed negotiations with hospital administration.
The strike is set for October 3rd, and in the meantime a contract can still be reached between the two sides, as they are still set to return to the negotiating table this Friday.
The nurses have been calling for more fair scheduling and more adequate staffing in the hospital.
They said understaffing issues are affecting them and the care they are able to give to patients.
Nurses told us they are still hopeful a contract can be reached before the strike.
“We hope we don’t have to get there,” said Home Care Nurse and Co-Chair of St. Luke’s MNA Bargaining Unit, Pete Boyechko. “We hope by giving them the notice today and giving them a little longer notice than what is required of us will get us time to get back to the table.”
“They can really sit down and really think about are they truly putting the patient above all else.”
Meanwhile the hospital has been saying the offers they’ve been putting forward have been quote “fair and reasonable.”
“Is it fair to leave huge openings in the schedule as it comes out? Is it fair to everyday have a nurse who stays late, comes in early, or here on their day off?” Boyechko said. “Is it fair that we as the registered nurse, the professional bedside nurse says that this situation is unsafe, that they turn around and say ‘eh, just deal with it?”
They released a statement to FOX21 today which reads in part:
“The strike notification by the MNA has set in motion the contingency plans St. Luke’s has in place to maintain continuity of care by bringing in replacement nurses to care for our patients. The high, non–recoverable costs of these contingency plans will likely force St. Luke’s to fundamentally reconsider, and possibly reduce, the breadth of services we provide. The decision to strike – even for one day – will be definitive.”
Boyechko is still optimistic about the nurses’ future with the hospital.
“We won the best of the best this year and we did that in the staffing crisis that we have now,” he said.
“Imagine what we could do if we had adequate staffing.”