Minnesota nurses target hospital executive pay

As they bargain for new contracts, more than 15,000 members of the Minnesota Nurses Association at 15 hospitals in the Twin Cities and Duluth are taking aim at hospital executive pay.

Nurses with the union plan to hold an informational picket June 1 at 11 Twin Cities hospitals to call for contracts that will prioritize patients, according to a May 19 union news release.

"Our healthcare system is in critical condition. Hospital executives with million-dollar salaries have created a staffing and retention crisis, which is pushing nurses away from the bedside," Mary Turner, RN, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association, said in the release. "The future of our healthcare system depends on the choices we make now. Nurses are ready to fight and win for our patients and our practice. I hope the public will stand with us in our fight to put patients before profits in our hospitals."

The informational picket, which is not a strike, is scheduled for a day after contracts for nurses in the Twin Cities expired. Contracts for Duluth-area nurses expire on June 30.

Meanwhile, the union launched a campaign calling for an end to "profit-first policies of hospital CEOs" in March.

The campaign includes a website highlighting executive pay at M Health Fairview, Allina Health, HealthPartners, North Memorial Health, Children's Minnesota, St. Luke's Duluth and Essentia Duluth.

The union also launched a paid digital advertising campaign highlighting issues facing nurses and patients, including staffing, patient care and wages. 

In a statement shared with Becker's, the Twin Cities Hospitals group — which includes Children's Minnesota, North Memorial Health, M Health Fairview and HealthPartners Methodist Hospital — said, "While we respect and recognize the nurses' union right to provide their message to the public, we are disappointed the nurses' union chose to cancel some of this week's bargaining sessions. … Our proposals reflect a good-faith approach to reach an equitable agreement that balances the need to be good stewards of our resources with the needs of all members of the healthcare team. The union's current demand of a 39 percent increase for wages and other increases simply are not realistic nor in the best interest of our community." 

An Allina spokesperson told the Minnesota Reformer that the health system offered the highest wage proposal in 15 years and "hope[s] to be able to find common ground around contract changes that address attracting and retaining the next generation of talented nurses." St. Luke's and Essentia did not return the newspaper's requests for comments.

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