Twin Cities nurses rally as contract expiration date looms

May 23, 2019 05:49 AM

Nurses in several Twin Cities hospitals will be out on the picket line Thursday.

Expected to begin picketing at about 7:30 a.m., nurses want to raise awareness about what they're fighting for in contract talks.


Contracts at eight area hospitals are set to expire on May 31 and some say they haven't been updated for more than 10 years, which they say is a big problem.

"A lot of times, I talk to people and they say, 'You work in the hospital so that must mean you have good health insurance' and it's not the case," Doreen McIntyre, of the Minnesota Nurses Association, said. "If your front line workers who take care of your family don't have good health insurance, who does have good health insurance?"

RELATED: Nurses picket across metro with contract set to expire next week

Members of the Minnesota Nurses Association say they want their voices to be heard on critical issues like staffing, wages and benefits.

Last week, there were scheduled bargaining talks between nurses and hospitals for a new contract.

So far, the two sides have not reached an agreement.

A member of the nurses negotiating team said some of the sticking points vary depending on the hospital.

One of the main concerns is keeping nurses safe when patients become abusive.

"This time around, what we are really fighting for is workplace violence around being safe in the hospital, taking care of our patients," Elaina Hane, a nurse, said.

RELATED: Nurses at Twin Cities hospitals make safety a key part of contract talks

A spokesperson with the Twin Cities hospitals said they remain hopeful they can reach an agreement soon on a new contract.

If the current contract expires, nurses can begin a strike.

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Rebecca Omastiak

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