MNA Announces Strike For 15K Nurses, Hospitals Say Strike Is Illegal After Protocols Not Followed
MINNESOTA– On Thursday, the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) announced it will be going on strike.
Nurses at 16 different hospitals in the Twin Cities, Twin Ports, and Moose Lake will go on a three-day strike starting on September 12th, 2022.
The MNA and the hospitals spent more than five months in contract negotiations that fell flat.
The hospitals and the union have been unable to find common ground between what is being offered and what the nurses are proposing.
“This isn’t an action that we want to take, but we also know that the system as it is can’t continue to safely function,” Vice President of MNA, Chris Rubesch said. “We are not only nurses, we are also patients…we are taking this action because we’ve been pushed here and we want to find a creative solution, but if that’s not possible we have to stand up for patients”.
The strike will become the largest private-sector nurses’ strike in U.S. history with 15,000 nurses involved.
The two major hospitals in the Twin Ports say that this strike will be illegal, and they’ve filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations board.
They allege that the nurses’ union hasn’t followed the required steps of notifying certain agencies.
Essentia Health’s statement:
“Along with several other health systems across the state, Essentia Health on Thursday received a 10-day strike notice from the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA). This impacts hospitals in Duluth, Superior and Moose Lake.
We are disappointed that the MNA has called a strike. It is our belief that we have a shared responsibility to care for the communities we’re privileged to serve. At Essentia, we’re proud to have some of the finest nurses in the world; they are an integral part of that commitment. We look forward to reaching an agreement that benefits them while continuing to provide expert, compassionate — and uninterrupted — care for our patients.
Progress has been made in talks, but significant gaps remain.
The MNA is seeking a 32.5% wage increase over three years. Essentia offers competitive wages, sign-on and shift bonuses, tuition reimbursement/assistance and numerous other benefits. A 32.5% wage increase on top of that package is not sustainable. We are currently offering a 10% wage increase over three years.
Because of these gaps, we have repeatedly requested mediation, which the union has consistently declined.
Please note that today’s notice does not guarantee a strike will occur. Essentia will continue to negotiate in good faith in pursuit of a mutually beneficial agreement that supports quality patient care and good local jobs. Additional bargaining sessions are scheduled for next week.
Essentia’s hospitals will remain open and accessible throughout this process. Should a strike occur, we have contingency staffing plans in place to preserve our ability to deliver the highest standards of patient care.
In response to today’s announcement, Essentia joined other Minnesota health systems in filing an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The MNA failed to give the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services a required notice. It is our hope that by filing this charge we can return our focus to the bargaining table; we must exhaust every option to avoid a work stoppage. That is why we took this step.
We respect the MNA’s right to call a legal strike. But they have not done so in this case, and we have a responsibility to provide patient care without disruption. The MNA would challenge any perceived failure to follow regulatory process on our part. We are holding them to the same level of accountability and urging them to continue bargaining with us.
Bargaining updates can be found at essentiamnabargaining.org.”
St. Luke’s statement:
“We have received MNA’s notification that St. Luke’s Hospital’s MNA-represented nurses will be on strike from 7 am on Monday, September 12 through 6:59 am on Thursday, September 15.
St. Luke’s is fully prepared to serve our patients for the duration of any MNA work stoppage and will continue to provide expert, quality care. Patient services will continue as usual.
However, MNA has not given proper notice of their intent to strike to appropriate government entities as required by federal law. Consequently, this strike is illegal. St. Luke’s, along with several other Minnesota health systems, has filed an unfair labor practice charge.
The MNA has been put on notice that engaging in a strike on September 12 would be an unlawful act, and we expect that MNA will withdraw its strike notice.
We have negotiated in good faith for several months to reach a fair and equitable contract with our nurses. We have approached each negotiating session with the intent to come to an agreement and will continue to do so at our next session on September 8. We believe both parties should be doing everything they can to avoid a strike, and we continue to call for the MNA to allow the assistance of a federal mediator.”