Nurses of the MNA Vote On Possibility Of Authorizing Strike

DULUTH, Minn. — Members of the Minnesota Nurses Association are voting today on whether or not to authorize a strike.

The poll comes after five months of contract negotiations and informational picketing in the Twin Ports and Twin Cities.

If the majority of nurses vote in favor, MNA leaders will call a strike following a 10-day notice to hospital employers.

This would create one of the largest nurse strikes in U.S. history — involving 15,000 nurses.

“We certainly are prepared and hope to continue to negotiate with management. We hope that today’s turnout and the results of the vote will be enough to get us a deal. Nurses certainly don’t want to strike, this is not something we’re looking forward to doing, but we are resolved to approach this with the seriousness that it is, and we’re ready to take this step if there’s no other choice.” Said Vice President of the MNA, Chris Rubesch.

Voting will continue throughout the evening, and results are expected late tonight.

We reached out to Essentia Health and St. Luke’s for statements. They said they’re holding off on commenting until after the vote, but this is what they provided us with last week.

Essentia Health’s written statement reads:

“Essentia Health will continue to negotiate in good faith and is committed to reaching an agreement that benefits our nurses, provides expert, compassionate care for our patients and promotes stewardship for our organization. Essentia provides pay and benefits that help us remain competitive in the communities we’re privileged to serve, and we are continuously exploring innovative ways to enhance the recruitment and professional development of our nurses. Essentia has a long history of reaching mutually acceptable agreements while avoiding work stoppages.”

St. Luke’s written statement reads:

“Mary Turner claimed today that MNA’s entire economic package amounts to a 30% increase. This is false. At our negotiating table, MNA is demanding over a 50% increase. MNA’s salary demand alone is 36.5% over three years, or more than a 12% increase per year. That means the average nurse currently making $50/hour would be making $70/hour. We’re committed to competitive compensation for all our employees and a fair contract, but MNA’s demands are unreasonable. Here’s how MNA’s wage request stacks up with other recently settled contracts:

· City of Duluth employees: +8% over 3 years

· Duluth Teachers: +4.5% over 2 years

· Minnesota Health Care Professional Unit (includes Nurses who are represented by MNA): +5% over 2 years

We have a lot more information about how St. Luke’s is a champion for nurses, provides quality care, and is a good steward of community resources on our website:”

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