Breaking News
More () »

15,000 Minnesota nurses prepare to strike Monday morning

The latest negotiations come after months of back and forth on new contracts between the Minnesota Nurses Association and several hospital groups.

MINNEAPOLIS — Starting Monday morning, 15,000 nurses throughout the state, from 16 hospitals will be on strike. 

"Yesterday, on Saturday, there were two health care facilities up in Duluth that were bargaining, Essentia St. Mary's and St. Luke's, and down here in the cities, Children's and the Fairview system, were at the table," said Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) President Mary Turner. "Unfortunately, they didn't get anywhere."

The latest negotiations come after months of back and forth on new contracts between the Minnesota Nurses Association and seven hospital groups.

Nurses say they want a nearly 30% boost to their economic package over three years, but some hospital groups say they've offered 11 to 12% over the same time period.

"Twenty-seven-percent from our side came across at Duluth, so ours officially, not all the hospitals, is 27% — and theirs has not changed from 12," said Turner.

Paul Omodt represents four of the seven hospital groups: Fairview, Children's, North Memorial and Methodist.

"We've indicated a willingness to negotiate reasonable amounts above that, but now the nurses' position is unrealistic and unaffordable," he said.

Some of the hospitals are now calling on mediation.

"We offered it several times, and it's been successful in the past, and we again call them to come to mediations," he said.

Essentia Health issued a statement after last night's negotiations saying:

Essentia Health is disappointed the MNA is focusing its efforts on a strike instead of at the bargaining table, where real solutions are found. We continue to believe that it’s imperative for both sides to exhaust our options in pursuit of a mutually beneficial agreement. One of those options, which we’ve repeatedly requested, is mediation. Unfortunately, the union has consistently declined this request.

 Essentia is proud to have some of the finest nurses in the country. We value the outstanding care they provide while uplifting our mission of making a healthy difference in people’s lives. However, we cannot agree to the MNA’s request for a 27% wage increase because it’s not responsible.

 We want to assure our patients and communities that our hospitals will remain open and accessible during a strike. We have extensive contingency plans in place to preserve our ability to deliver the highest standards of care. Essentia’s top priority in everything we do is to improve the safety and well-being of the patients and communities we’re privileged to serve.

While hospitals say replacement staff will be available starting tomorrow morning, nurses are preparing to hit the picket line.

“We have trained managers and leaders ready to staff the hospitals along with replacement nurses who have been trained today and are ready to go at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning," said Omodt.

Nurses are preparing to hit the picket line.

"Our profession is in crisis right now, and this is a do-or-die situation," she said.

Full statement from Allina Health on Sunday: 

Allina Health is focused on delivering safe, high-quality care throughout the duration of the Minnesota Nurses Association’s three day strike. A strike is not our desired outcome of these negotiations, and Allina Health has been thoughtfully planning for months. 

We intentionally have built flexibility into our plans and continuously evaluate our operations. While we are making every effort to minimize disruptions to patient care, our hospitals continue to be full, and we are preparing to make the necessary adjustments to ensure we are meeting the community’s emergent and on-going health care needs. Patients will be contacted directly if there is any change in their appointments. 

Allina Health is grateful for all members of our care teams who ensure continuity of care for our patients, and we want our community members to know that our hospitals, urgent care locations and primary care clinics are open, in addition to our virtual urgent care, virtual visits and Everyday Online care options.

We are now focused on taking care of those who need us.

 For those who have questions about patient care during MNA’s strike, please go to AllinaHealth.org. 

Watch more local news:

Watch the latest local news from the Twin Cities in our YouTube playlist:

Before You Leave, Check This Out