MNA nurses to vote on second possible strike

Duluth, MN
Duluth, MN(KBJR/CBS3 Duluth)
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 10:08 AM CST
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DULUTH, MN -- Two months after their first strike, 15,000 nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) will vote to authorize a second possible strike.

MNA spokespeople made that announcement Thursday morning.

“While nurses have done everything we can to reach an agreement at the bargaining table, hospital executives have instead pursued unfair labor practices against our union,” Mary Turner, the President of the Minnesota Nurses Association, said.

The union members plan to vote on November 30. According to a news release, for a strike to be approved, two-thirds of members have to vote for it.

If they approve a strike, there was no immediate word on when the nurses would walk off the job.

Nurses have been negotiating with 15 hospitals across the state, including St. Luke’s and Essentia in Duluth, for eight months.

2,000 nurses in the Twin Ports have been at the bargaining table since June.

Nurses claimed Thursday their contract negotiations still aren’t going anywhere.

“I can tell you since our strike in September, nurses have made an effort to give up proposals that are still important to us,” Kelly Anaas, an RN at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

They’re asking for improved pay and staffing conditions.

“Guys, we’re in crisis how many times can I say it?” Turner said.

Essentia Health provided a statement to Northern News Now on the looming strike authorization vote:

“Essentia Health continues to believe that if both parties come to the table in good faith and engage in constructive discussions, we can reach an agreement that supports excellent patient care and the growth and development of all our nurses. That’s why we are disappointed to hear the MNA is considering another work stoppage. As we saw earlier this year, a strike does not bring us closer to an agreement. Our history of years of successful negotiations shows us that the best solutions are found through productive dialogue at the bargaining table. We remain committed to that effort and expect the MNA to explore with us innovative solutions that work for our nurses and the communities that we serve. In the meantime, Essentia’s highest priority will remain the safety and well-being of our patients. Updates about bargaining are available at essentiamnabargaining.org

St.Luke’s also provided a statement on the MNA’s pending vote:

“We are extremely encouraged to hear Mary Turner’s willingness to welcome a mediator to the negotiations table. We have been requesting a mediator for more than six months, as we believe a mediator will help us reach a settlement.

We look forward to reaching a contract agreement that is fair to our employees, our patients and our communities as soon as possible.”