Local Nurses Plan Informational Picket Later This Month During Ongoing Contract Negotiations

DULUTH, MN – Contracts for nurses at Essentia and St. Luke’s are expiring soon and the nurses are not happy with the way negotiations are going.  Thursday, the Minnesota Nurses Association held a press event announcing their intent to hold an informational picket on June 21.  Many of the concerns raised by the MNA have existed for years even before Covid, they have just been brought to the forefront the last couple of years.

“We have nurses. What we have is a lack of nurses who are willing to work in the current conditions.  Oftentimes we hear management tell us, ‘We’re in a staffing crisis. We have no nurses.’ And what we’re saying is the nurses are there, their just refusing to work in conditions that they think are unsafe and put their licenses at risk,” said negotiating team member Chris Rubesch.

St. Luke’s and Essentia have both released a statement regarding the ongoing negotiations. St. Luke’s says in part:

“We are disappointed that in the midst of good faith negotiations, the Minnesota Nurses Association has chosen to take this approach. While still fully engaged in negotiating an equitable agreement with our nurses in the coming weeks, we will be educating the communities we serve on the value we place in and the support we provide to our patents, staff and communities.”

Essentia released the following:

“Essentia will continue to negotiate in good faith and we look forward to reaching a mutually beneficial agreement. Our nurses are valued members of our care teams at Essentia Health.”

The statement goes on to say,

“Our top priority in everything we do is to continue providing our patients with the kind of expert care they expect and deserve.”

The nurses’ current contract is set to expire at the end of the month.

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