Essentia nurses picket for fair contract

More than 500 nurses and supporters picketed Wednesday outside of Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, Minn., over contract negotiations, according to a Duluth News Tribune report.

The Minnesota Nurses Association, which represents 1,300 registered nurses at Essentia Health-Duluth and Essentia Health-St. Mary's Hospital-Superior (Minn.), said nurses at the hospitals are frustrated with the lack of progress on contract negotiations.

According to the union, nurses have been negotiating with Essentia Health since April. The union claims Essentia is trying to force nurses into unacceptable concessions on health insurance while rejecting nurses' proposals "to ensure nurses have the right number of patients at one time in order to care for them safely."

Nurses and supporters are calling on Essentia to negotiate a fair contract.

Maureen Talarico, a spokeswoman for Essentia, said in the report that the system "value[s] and respect[s] the care and dedication that our nurses give to our patients" and looks forward to continuing talks with the workers.

"Both sides want a fair agreement that will benefit nurses," Ms. Talarico added. "We are positive that a fair and balanced agreement can be reached."

Negotiations are slated to continue in August.


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