Final Day of MNA Nurse Strike: What Next?

DULUTH, Minn. — For the past two days, nearly 15,000 nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association have been on strike.

The strike comes after months of unresolved contract negotiations between the MNA and 16 minnesota hospitals, with nurses expressing frustration over staffing levels and not enough pay.

Here in the Twin Ports, S. Luke’s and Essentia Health say MNA nurses are asking for a wage increase that’s not affordable and cannot be fulfilled.

The MNA says this triggered the strike.

Now, nurses are holding signs, chanting, and walking the picket line outside of the hospitals.

“First and foremost, we’re hoping that this brings the parties, brings management back to the table, and gets us a contract settlement. That will remain to be seen. Secondly, we really wanted to elevate our message to the community and based on the noise you see here, based on the community members, so many other unions, faith groups coming out to support us, I think that mission was accomplished,” said MNA Vice President and Essentia Registered Nurse, Chris Rubesch.

MNA nurses say they plan to strike until tomorrow morning, and then head back to work and continue the negotiating process.

We have new statements from both major twin ports’ hospitals.

Essentia’s reads,

“All of our staffing needs are being met to provide safe, high-quality health care for our patients and the community. We will welcome all our nurses back at 7 a.m. Thursday. We look forward to returning to the bargaining table because that’s where solutions occur.”

St. Luke’s statement says,

MNA leadership is telling its members that St. Luke’s refuses to work with them on issues regarding staffing, working conditions and wages. That is not true. We have actively engaged in these topics during 17 negotiating sessions, dating back to late April.

Every industry is facing workforce shortages, including health care. Nurses have tremendous choice in where and how they want to work, and we respect that choice. Some leave the bedside to choose lucrative travel assignments. Others choose to work as an RN in a clinical or office setting, often to have regular weekday hours.

We are doing everything we can to recruit new nurses, train the nursing workforce of the future, and retain the nurses we have. We have also added new roles and are using technology more than ever to support nurses.

Since January 2021, we have hired 163 MNA RNs and continue to hire more.

St. Luke’s provides competitive wages that recognize our nurses for their time and talents.

  • RN with 2-year degree and no experience
    • $35.63/hour*, $74,1104/year* (full time)
  • RN with 2-year degree and 7 years of full-time experience
    • $46.84/hour*, $97,427/year* (full-time)
  • RN who picks up an overtime shift with bonus pay on average makes $93.18/hour**

In addition, RNs who work a .6 FTE or greater receive the same health and dental insurance benefits as 1.0 FTE, plus vacation time, sick time, pension, 401K match, and long-term disability.

*This base pay rate excludes shift differential, weekend bonus, and other premium pay (OT, double time, holiday, critical need bonus, etc.)

**$45.45 average/hourly rate x 1.5x OT + $25/hour critical need bonus = $93.18/hour

The above rates are based on our most recent contract, which expired on June 30, 2022 and we continue to honor. MNA’s proposals would significantly increase these wages.

We will welcome our nurses back to St. Luke’s as scheduled, starting at 7 am on Thursday morning. There will not be a lockout.

The next negotiation date has not been set. St. Luke’s remains willing to return to the negotiations table.

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