MNA Voting On The Possibility Of Going On Another Strike

DULUTH, Minn. — 15,000 nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association have been voting all throughout the day on Wednesday deciding if they want to go on a three-day strike again, as contract negotiations with hospitals continue to fall apart.

The union says it would another “unfair labor practice strike.”

If at least two-thirds of nurses vote in agreement to walk off the job again, hospitals will get a 10-day notice first.

The voting results are expected to come in late Wednesday night.

Union nurses and hospitals have been in a long contract battle, as neither side can reach an agreement on wages, benefits, working conditions and more.

15,000 MNA nurses went on strike for three days back in September as contract negotiations fell apart.

“We have been trying to get better language in our contract to help us with staffing, help us with recruitment of new nurses, and retaining our senior nurses,” Larissa Hubbartt, an RN at the St. Luke’s ICU and co-chair of the MNA, said.

She adds that the first negotiating session was at the end of April, and there’s been about two dozen more since then.

The nurses’ contracts expired back on June 30th.

St. Luke’s released a new statement ahead of the voting results that reads:

“We look forward to our negotiating session tomorrow. While MNA has agreed to allow a mediator to observe, we remain hopeful that MNA will allow the mediator to participate in the process. We believe having a mediator is the next best step toward reaching an agreement and avoiding a strike. We know our nurses want to be at the bedside doing what they do best: caring for patients.”

Essentia Health sent a statement on Monday that reads:

“We were encouraged to hear MNA leadership recently express openness to mediation after previously declining our requests to bring in a third-party independent mediator. We continue to believe this step would move both parties closer to agreement and avoid a strike. Our next Twin Ports bargaining session is scheduled for Thursday, December 1st.”

Essentia announced earlier this week that it had reached a tentative deal with MNA nurses in Moose Lake.

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