Wednesday marked the final full day of picketing for 15,000 Minnesota nurses during their historic strike.
Check updates from Wednesday below. Tuesday's updates
Nurses strike ends without agreement on raises, staffing
After three days on the picket line, some nurses are back in Minnesota hospitals Wednesday night, while others will return to work Thursday morning.
The nurses union and hospital management still don't agree on pay raises and staffing, so both sides will need to return to the bargaining table.
Allina Health released this statement Thursday evening:
We are grateful to our care teams for their extraordinary effort this week and their dedication every day to providing safe, high-quality care to the communities we serve.
Striking MNA nurses will return to work at United Hospital in St. Paul this evening at 6:30 p.m. and tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. at our Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Mercy Hospital campuses in Coon Rapids and Fridley.
Now, we look forward to returning to the bargaining table. We are scheduling a bargaining session next week to continue working with the Minnesota Nurses Association on a contract agreement that recognizes both the contributions of our nurses and our commitment to our patients, and communities.
The Twin Cities Hospital Group said "our care teams will welcome back nurses as needed to meet the needs of our patients."
Like Allina Health, the Twin Cities Hospital Group says negotiations teams will return to talks next week.
Hopes dim for any chance of new negotiations
Negotiators say they've not only moved no closer to closer to a resolution, they haven't met with hospitals to negotiate at all.
Union leaders say they're hopeful to meet once workers go back into the hospitals tomorrow, but say what could happen if demands aren't met is still not certain.
At M Health Fairview in Edina, the Minnesota Nurses Association says their main concerns are still staffing, safety, and pay.
Ericka Helling has worked as a registered nurse for nearly 25 years and is on the negotiating team at M Health Fairview.
"I want to believe and I want to hope that our employers understand, and that the employers are about the patients. They say they are all the time, so do it," Helling said.
Striking nurses are asking for a 30% wage increase over the course of the next three years. Hospitals are reportedly willing to offer slightly less than half of that.
Nurses like Helling are also seeking more control over staffing.
"It isn't a black and white formula for us. We consistently look at it every hour of every day," Helling said.
M Health Fairview COO Laura Reed says staffing decisions are incredibly complex and can change by the minute.
"What qualifications does that nurse have? What experience does that nurse have? The team that's working with me on that particular shift, what do they need so that they can be successful?" she asked.
And while nurses are set to return to work tomorrow, without a deal they're stressing they're not done yet.
"Are all of you willing to go back to the conditions that you've been in? No! Then we don't have any alternative but to go into round two of this war," MNA president Mary Turner said to the crowd of striking nurses.
Representatives from Allina Health and St. Luke's say they remain committed to moving forward and finalizing a fair contract.
Negotiator optimistic, but also disheartened as strike end nears
As nurses head into the third and final day of this strike, a negotiator says she's both optimistic and disheartened that there's been seemingly zero movement between the hospitals and the nurses union since this strike started Monday.
A look at striking nurses in Edina
Day 3 of nurse strike underway
WCCO's Pauleen Le is covering the strike from downtown St. Paul. Check this page for updates throughout the day.
Talking to patients affected by the strike
Some nurses will be returning to their jobs before the strike officially ends Thursday at 7 a.m.
Allina Health said in a statement that nurses at United Hospital will be back on the job at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The Minnesota Nurses Association leaders said the early return was because of a clerical error found in their 10-day strike notice.
The rest of the Allina nurses will return along with all of the other striking nurses, Thursday.
The early return is good news for some patients like Ryan Nelson-Caine of Brooklyn Center. He and his wife have a scheduled cesarean section for their first child at United Hospital early Thursday morning.
Nelson-Caine said they tried to reschedule their C-section after finding out they'd be working with travel nurses, but they were unable to because per hospital policy they needed a medical reason to move a procedure.
He said he and his wife wanted to show their support for striking nurses in their fight for better staffing and fair wages.
"People are not going to stop getting sick," he said. "They're not going to stop having babies. They're not going to stop needing care. There's always going to be a market for the hospitals and for the companies that run them and the people that they partner with to continue to make money. That's not always the case for labor and they deserve a cut of the pie for the work that they're putting in for the hospitals to recoup that money."
Nelson-Caine also added that he and his wife did research on travel nurses and were comfortable working with them, but understands that's not the case for everyone.
"We have the ability and the resources to go ask the questions and the know-how to navigate the situation," he said. "For someone who just hears this and you're planning to have a child, you've got enough going on that you don't need the added stress of trying to worry about what your care is going to look like on the day that you're delivering your child."
Allina Health said in a statement: "The replacement RNs are quality, experienced nurses that are licensed by the Minnesota Board of Nursing and meet the same credentialing guidelines as our staff nurses."
Health system leaders also added they've had successful visits from the Minnesota Department of health this week as part of their increased oversight during the strike to ensure quality care is being delivered.
Allina and union nurses were supposed to meet Tuesday to continue contract negotiations, but the meeting was canceled. As WCCO has reported, Allina officials want to wait until the strike is over to continue talking.
There is still no tentative date for when both sides will head back to the negotiating table.
Nurses brought in at hospitals during strike offered $8,000+ for 5 days' work
Around 15,000 Minnesota nurses from the Twin Cities and Duluth are heading back to the picket line Tuesday morning.
At Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis, a coach bus filled with traveling nurses was seen arriving as striking nurses were setting up outside.
Job postings circulating online for traveling nurses from Medical Staffing Solutions advertise pay starting at just under $8,000 for this strike specifically. That pay covers the three days of the strike in addition to two days of training. Other advertisements on Indeed list positions at more than $10,000 for the duration of the strike.
By the numbers, traveling nurses could be making just under $1,600 per day on the lower end of the advertised spectrum.