15,000+ Minnesota nurses launch campaign calling for end to 'profit-first policies'

Amid contract negotiations, more than 15,000 members of the Minnesota Nurses Association who work at 15 facilities in the Twin Cities and Duluth areas have launched a campaign highlighting their requests regarding staffing, patient care and wages. 

Union members contend the pandemic has only intensified longstanding workforce challenges. 

"Our healthcare system is in critical condition. The profit-first policies of hospital CEOs have created a staffing and retention crisis, pushing nurses away from the bedside and putting the bottom line ahead of patient care," Mary Turner, RN, COVID-19 intensive care unit nurse at Robbinsdale, Minn.-based North Memorial Hospital and union president, said in a March 17 news release. "The future of our healthcare system in Minnesota depends on the choices we make now. Nurses are ready to fight and win to put our patients and our co-workers ahead of the profits of hospital CEOs."

The campaign — which includes buttons and stickers for nurses — comes as negotiations begin at the following facilities:

  • Abbott Northwestern Hospital
  • Children's Hospital - Minneapolis
  • Children's Hospital - St. Paul
  • Essentia St. Mary's
  • Essentia Miller-Dwan
  • M Health Fairview Southdale Hospital
  • M Health Fairview Riverside Campus
  • HealthEast - St. John's Hospital
  • HealthEast - St. Joseph's Hospital
  • Mercy Hospital
  • Methodist Hospital
  • North Memorial Health Care
  • St. Luke's Hospital
  • United Hospital
  • Unity Hospital

Contracts expire May 31 for nurses in the Twin Cities and June 30 for nurses in Duluth. 

In a statement shared with Becker's, the Minnesota Hospital Association acknowledged the pandemic's toll on healthcare workers.

"Minnesota's hospitals and health systems value our care teams who work hard every day to provide excellent care in communities across the state," the statement said. "As recently reported by the Minnesota Department of Health, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken an increasingly grim financial toll on our facilities due to many factors, including increased labor costs driven by a tight labor market coupled with consistent wage increases and retention bonuses. In the months to come, we expect the workforce crisis our members face will only grow across the skilled professions that make up our care teams, including nurses."

The association added that it hopes "a positive outcome is on the horizon as contract talks begin so we can keep focusing on our mission of providing excellent care to Minnesotans when and where they need it."

Beyond the campaign related to contract negotiations, the union is also launching a new paid digital advertising campaign highlighting issues facing nurses and patients, while advocating for the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act at the Minnesota Legislature to address staffing. Read more about the initiative here

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