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Two months after 3-day strike, 15K Minnesota nurses may strike again

Two months after 3-day strike, 15K Minnesota nurses may strike again
Two months after 3-day strike, 15K Minnesota nurses may strike again 07:18

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota nurses say they aren't getting anywhere in negotiations with hospitals and they may authorize another strike.

In September, members of the Minnesota Nurses Association went on a three-day strike. After that, they said they were hopeful they could get back to the bargaining table and get a deal done.

But on Thursday, the nurses' union says that hasn't happened despite a number of meetings with their hospital groups.

One nurse at M Health Fairview talked about the issues most important to them.

"We continue to be met with resistance when it comes to top issues that are important to our nurses: staffing, fair wages, paid family leave, increased sick and vacation accrual and recognition to all nurses for the sacrifice made during the COVID pandemic," Chelsea Schafter said.

MORE: Nurses brought in at hospitals during strike offered $8,000+ for 5 days' work

On Nov. 30, the 15,000 nurses in the union will vote yet again to possibly authorize a strike. The nurses have been trying to get a deal done for eight months now.

The Twin Cities hospital group coalition said it is committed to reaching a fair and equitable contract agreement. The coalition also said it has suggested mediation, but the nurses' union continues to reject that idea.

In a statement Friday, Allina Health said: 

The Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) publicly said yesterday it is open to mediation. Allina Health offered to involve a mediator in today's bargaining session, however, the union declined. This begs the question, if not now, when? 

While there was some movement during today's bargaining session, including the parties' wage proposals, MNA is still demanding an unsustainable wage increase of 22.5% over three years. We value our nurses and believe that they deserve to be fairly compensated for their contributions and are now offering a 13.25% wage increase over the life of the contract, in addition to other economic benefits. 

Allina Health is scheduled to negotiate with the union again on Dec. 2, yet MNA has made it clear the union's priority is voting on a possible strike authorization. We ask the union to stop declining solutions that can bring these negotiations to a successful close. Our community does not deserve any disruptions to care, especially when we are experiencing a surge of seasonal illnesses that are creating an access-to-care crisis in our hospitals.

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