Minnesota Nurses Association votes ‘overwhelmingly’ to authorize strike

UPDATE: More than 15,000 nurses across Minnesota are prepared to go on strike after members of the Minnesota Nurses Association voted on the matter Monday.

Member nurses voted “overwhelmingly” to authorize a strike, meeting the required two-thirds supermajority. The vote means union negotiators can give a 10-day strike notice to hospital employers.

“Hospital executives with million-dollar salaries have created a crisis of retention and care in our healthcare system, as more nurses are leaving the bedside, putting quality patient care at risk,” Mary C. Turner, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association, said in a statement. “Nurses do not take this decision lightly, but we are determined to take a stand at the bargaining table, and on the sidewalk if necessary, to put patients before profits in our hospitals.”

Minnesota Nurses Association representatives are expected to address the strike authorization during a news conference Tuesday morning.

An earlier version of this story is below.

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Monday, nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association will vote whether to strike.

The union says 15,000 nurses have been working without a contract since June, and negotiations have been going on for months since March.

In order for the strike vote to pass, there needs to be a two-thirds majority.

If nurses approve of a strike, the vote would give nurse negotiators the authorization to call a strike following a 10-day notice to the hospitals across the state.

The strike would mean three level one trauma centers could pretty much be out of commission without those nurses- those include North Memorial, Children’s Minneapolis and Essentia St. Mary’s in Duluth.

Earlier this month, union members held a “No Confidence” vote for hospital executives across the state.

“We’re not asking for the moon – what we are asking our hospitals and executives is to work with us to address our staffing our retention and our patient care in our hospitals,” said Mary Turner, the president of the Minnesota Nurses Association.

The union is asking for improved staffing numbers, and better preparations for future pandemics along with better pay.

Essentia and Allina say in part:

“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 Health

“While we are disappointed the union is choosing to move to authorize a strike, our priority is providing high quality care to the community. We are hopeful we will begin to see progress at the bargaining table and avoid possible work stoppages that do not benefit anyone.”

Allina Health

Voting will continue until 10 p.m. Monday.

The results are expected to be released Monday night, and union members are expected to speak about those results sometime on Tuesday.

“I think it’s unfortunate that it came here – the pandemic is still going on and I think the employers have forgotten everything that healthcare has done for them, said Angela Beccchetti, a nurse negotiator. “A sign, a pizza party, does nothing to gratify, to fill what we deserve and know that we need, so not coming, not giving us proposals that dramatically give us the protection – it just does nothing for us.”

The Twin Cities Hospital Group also issued a statement, saying in part:

“It is important for the public to note: our hospitals are open and will remain open to serve the community.”

Twin Cities Hospital Group