MNA still pushing for safe staffing amid Essentia hospital’s opening

Published: Jul. 20, 2023 at 5:50 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - As St. Mary’s Medical Center gets ready to open, the Minnesota Nurses Association is still pushing for safe staffing.

The MNA will have an informational picket Friday to voice their concerns before opening the hospital to patients.

The group’s push for safe staffing has been going on for years.

Back in September, the MNA held the largest nursing strike in U.S. history to address workplace issues.

More than 2,000 MNA nurses went on strike for three days asking for better staffing, employee benefits, and wages.

Now, nurses are back to work but are still pushing for more support.

The Keeping the Nurses at the Bedside Act was introduced this past legislative session but didn’t make it to Governor Tim Walz’s desk.

A compromised bill did pass, The Nurse and Patient’s Safety Act.

The act focuses on limiting violence in the hospital workplace, repaying nurses’ student loans, and increased payment for those teaching nurses.

MNA First Vice President Chris Rubesch says the MNA is continuing to push for safe staffing at the legislative level.

However, concerns still remain for him with the St. Mary’s Medical Building.

“We’re excited to have those facilities available for our patients, our community members, but I have lingering concerns around staffing and the people power that actually give the health care to the patients,” says Rubesch.

MNA is currently having conversations with Essentia leaders about staffing levels in the new hospital.

“They’ve been cordial, productive and we are confident we are going to reach or come to an agreement that supports them and supports our patients,” states Louie St. George, External Communications Manager for Essentia.

St. George says the MNA has been a part of the staffing process since the contract was signed last year.

They will continue to be a part of decision-making.

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