Mayo Clinic Health System nurses petition for action on staffing challenges

More than 670 Minnesota Nurses Association members at six Mayo Clinic Health System facilities are demanding wage fairness and retention bonuses to address staffing issues and recognize workers, according to a union news release. 

The petition, which was filed with hospital management and shared with Becker's on Jan. 19, states, "We, the MNA nurses of Mayo Clinic Health System, have worked in extremely difficult circumstances over the last 23 months. We are exhausted, we are traumatized, and we are morally injured. Despite facing what we believe is an unsafe work environment, high patient volumes and acuity, and a lack of action on these issues from upper management, we continue to deliver quality care to our patients and support our fellow nurses and co-workers."

Union members at six Mayo Clinic Health System facilities in Albert Lea, Austin, Fairmont, Lake City, Mankato and Red Wing signed the petition. 

Workers' demands are focused on sustaining nurses and call for wage fairness and retention bonuses, which they contend the health system can afford. 

Specifically, nurses seek to be paid triple time for hours worked while travelers are being used to supplement staffing. They also ask that, for every three months, nurses who maintain employment are paid a $4,000 bonus, to be distributed quarterly over a 12-month period. 

In a statement shared with Becker's, Mayo Clinic Health System spokesperson Rick Thiesse said the health system values its nursing staff and offers a highly competitive compensation package. Still, he acknowledged the staffing issues nurses are facing.

"Like other hospitals, our medical surgical units and ICUs at Mayo Clinic hospitals continue to be full and staffing challenges continue to persist, exacerbated with higher volumes of staff absences due to the high rates of COVID-19 transmission across our communities," Mr. Thiesse said. 

Amid the challenges, he said the health system is working hard to help, including offering premium pay and financial incentives, utilizing agency nurses and redeploying staff from outpatient areas to alleviate inpatient constraints. He said the organization also sometimes evaluates surgical listings and adjusts schedules as needed for patients "whose health or quality of life will not be adversely affected by waiting."

The Minnesota Nurses Association has more than 22,000 members in Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin.

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