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Nurses from 11 Minnesota hospitals take to the picket line Wednesday

More than 15,000 nurses are asking for better contracts and better patient care.

MINNEAPOLIS — Tuesday morning, nurses from 11 hospitals in the Twin Cities are hitting the picket line, fighting for better contracts and patient care. 

Nurses from Allina Health, M Health Fairview, Children's Hospitals, and HealthPartners say they're being overworked, their hospitals are unstaffed and their patients are being overcharged, according to a statement from the Minnesota Nurses Association

15,000 nurses in the Twin Cities and Twin Ports hope to negotiate new contracts that would prioritize patients and workers, instead of hospital profits. The nurses are also asking for fair compensation for their work during the pandemic and the rising cost of living. 

These nurses hope they can start to solve the crisis of understaffing and retention plaguing the medical profession while preparing for the next pandemic. The picket also wants to draw attention to the need to prioritize diversity and inclusion. 

"The future of our healthcare system depends on the choices we make now," said Mary C. Turner, the head of the Minnesota Nurses Association in a statement. "Nurses are ready to fight and win for our patients and our practice."

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Contracts for the nurses working in the Twin Cities expired on Tuesday, and Twin Ports nurses' contracts are set to expire on June 30. 

This picket isn't a work stoppage, just an informational picket. Hospital operations won't be impacted. 

The public is invited to join the nurses in their picket. 

Nurses will be picketing at  Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Children's Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis in the morning and at Unity Hospital, United Hospital and Children's Minnesota Hospital in St. Paul in the afternoon. A picket is planned for North Memorial in St. Paul and Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park all day on Wednesday.

In response to the picket, Allina Health released the following statement:

Allina Health respects the Minnesota Nurses Association’s right to conduct informational picketing during contract negotiations. Since March, we have met with the union seven times to reach an agreement that recognizes the contributions of our employees, while prioritizing the health needs of our community. 

 Allina Health has offered an economic package that includes the highest first wage proposal that we have made in nearly 15 years. Beyond offering positive economic gains, we have demonstrated our shared commitment to important issues like diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as safety and security concerns. Additionally, we hope to be able to find common ground around contract changes that address attracting and retaining the next generation of talented nurses. 

 Allina Health looks forward to getting back to the bargaining table and bringing these negotiations to a productive end. 

RELATED: Planned Parenthood MN workers join 4 other Midwest states in seeking union

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