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Minnesota nurses hold Monday strike vote

They've been working without a contract for months, and on Monday nurses in the Twin Cities and Duluth-Superior area will vote on a possible strike.

MINNEAPOLIS — On Monday morning 15,000 Minnesota nurses will cast their ballots on a possible heath care worker strike.

Voting will start Monday morning, and go on throughout the day. If most nurses vote to strike, that allows nurse negotiation leaders to call a strike.

They would need to give hospital leaders a ten day notice.

Representatives from the Minnesota Nurses Association said if this strike happens, it would be one of the largest nurses strikes in U.S. history, and would be the first time Twin Cities and Duluth-Superior nurses took such an action together.

Nurses are asking for contracts that include wage increases and more paid time off. They're also demanding solutions for short-staffing, retention, and better patient care. 

 Even though negotiations have been happening for five months, little to no progress has been made.

RELATED: Minnesota nurses could be headed for strike

"We don't take this decision lightly," said Mary Turner, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association. "I and the nurses behind me, and all 15,000 nurses, want to be at the bedside, but we have been driven to this. We have tried to put proposals that would help to bring back the nurses to the bedside, but they're not interested."

 A spokesperson for several area hospitals released a statement after the strike authorization vote was announced. They said in part: "While taking a strike authorization vote is the right of any union, we are disappointed that the nurses' union leadership has rushed into their strike authorization vote."

The statement went on to say hospitals will remain open throughout the process, and health care workers will continue to negotiate so patient care isn't interrupted.

The results of the vote should be made public on Monday night or Tuesday morning. 

RELATED: Survey of Hennepin Healthcare nurses reveals rising violence in hospitals

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