Union plans rally after strike by 15,000 Minnesota nurses

Members of the Minnesota Nurses Association plan to rally in downtown Minneapolis Nov. 2 to raise awareness about what they say is hospital executives' refusal to address their concerns during contract bargaining.

The union, an affiliate of National Nurses United, represents 15,000 nurses who went on strike in September at more than a dozen hospitals in the Twin Cities and Twin Ports. The three-day strike took place at hospitals run by Allina Health, HealthPartners, Essentia Health, Fairview Health Services, Children's Minnesota, North Memorial Health and St. Luke's.

Since the strike, "nurses have been back at the negotiating table, trying everything possible to reach agreement with hospital CEOs on a contract to put patients before profits. Unfortunately, hospital executives continue to refuse to work with nurses to solve the issues of short-staffing and unsustainable working conditions which are driving nurses from the bedside and negatively impacting patient care," the MNA said in a Nov. 1 news release.

That's why the union said its members, along with community supporters, will speak out on these issues during the Nov. 2 rally, which is scheduled for noon at U.S. Bank corporate offices.

The Twin Cities Hospitals Group — which includes Children's Minnesota, North Memorial Health, Fairview and HealthPartners Methodist Hospital — told Becker's Nov. 1 that it "remains focused on negotiating a fair and reasonable contract with the nurses' union and re-iterates our request for the nurses' union to agree to mediation. These talks have surpassed six months and 20 face-to-face sessions, yet the union's wage demands of nearly 30 percent remain unreasonable and unaffordable. We believe our time is best spent working together on solutions with the assistance of a trained, neutral mediator who can ensure these talks successfully conclude."

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