Minnesota hospitals prepare for large Sept. 12 strike

Minnesota hospitals are planning to be at or near full operations during an upcoming strike by thousands of members of the Minnesota Nurses Association, the Star Tribune reported Sept. 7.

The union, an affiliate of National Nurses United, is set to launch a three-day strike Sept. 12 at 16 hospitals in the Twin Cities, Twin Ports and Moose Lake. The hospitals are run by Allina Health, HealthPartners, Essentia Health, Fairview Health Services, Children's Minnesota, North Memorial Health and St. Luke's. About 15,000 nurse union members are expected to participate.

Children's Minnesota said Sept. 7 it is planning only emergency surgeries at its Minneapolis and St. Paul hospitals between 7 a.m. Sept. 12 and 7 a.m. Sept. 15, according to the Star Tribune. In a statement provided to Becker's, the health system said it otherwise plans to function at full capacity at the hospitals, clinics and Minnetonka surgery center.

A statement Essentia provided to the Star Tribune Sept. 7 said urgent and emergency care would be uninterrupted during the strike.

In a statement shared with the newspaper, Fairview said it expects to maintain operations at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, St. John's in Maplewood, and Southdale in Edina — and at a long-term acute care ward at St. Joseph's in St. Paul — based on the initial number of travel nurses available to fill in during the strike.

"It's a delicate balance and we're watching it closely," Fairview said in the statement, according to the Star Tribune. "If we do need to reschedule appointments, we will be in touch with our patients. They do not need to call."

The strike planning comes amid a labor dispute between the health systems and union. The dispute has focused largely on the gap between the wage increase the union is seeking and the one the health system is offering.

Contracts expired for nurses May 31 in the Twin Cities and June 30 for Twin Ports nurses. The union began negotiating its first contract with Essentia Health two years ago.

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