Hundreds of Essentia Health, St. Luke's nurses picket in Minnesota

Hundreds of nurses picketed Aug. 20 to call attention to ongoing contract disputes with Essentia Health and St. Luke's in Duluth, Minn., according to The Duluth News Tribune.

The Minnesota Nurses Association organized the two demonstrations, which took place in front of Essentia Health and St. Luke's. Although nurses at the two health systems have different contracts, they have similar concerns: namely, staff levels and retention rates. Several pickets said low staff levels are negatively impacting patient care and stretching nurses thin, which leads to high turnover rates.

"We value the contributions of our skilled and compassionate nurses and respect their right to conduct informational picketing as part of the contract negotiation process," Essentia Health told The Duluth News Tribune

St. Luke's respects nurse's rights to hold pickets, said Sue Hamel, St. Luke's vice president and CNO. "We have been making solid progress at the negotiations table and look forward to continuing our discussions in the near future. We are working hard to arrive at a fair contract."

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