Children’s Minnesota nurses authorize strike

Nurses at Children's Minnesota in St. Paul and Minneapolis voted to reject the health system's latest offer and authorized negotiators to call a strike, according to a union announcement.

The vote paves the way for a potential walkout. For a strike to occur, elected nurse members of the negotiating committee would have to schedule a date and provide Children's with at least a 10-day notice.

"Nurses feel devalued and disrespected," Elaina Hane, a pediatric intensive care unit nurse at Children's St. Paul campus, said in a news release from the Minnesota Nurses Association. "Nurses are prepared to do what it takes to get a fair contract."

The MNA, which represents 1,500 nurses at Children's, has been in contract negotiations with the health system since March.

Health insurance and wages remain key sticking points in negotiations. Nurses argue that Children's is leaving them with too much of the insurance cost, while health system management says there are insurance options that have lower premiums than the most expensive health plan, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

Negotiations are reportedly scheduled to resume June 14.

According to MPR, Katie Penson, Children's senior director of clinical services, critical care, said of the strike authorization vote: "When you consider the progress we've made over several bargaining sessions, and the fact that the union has declined our requests to use a mediator, it doesn't make sense and it's unnecessary."


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