MOOSE LAKE, Minn. -- Nurses at Essentia Health Moose Lake voted to strike Wednesday, a day aftervoted to do the same, the Minnesota Nurses Association announced.
Essentia Health purchased the Moose Lake facility from Mercy Hospital two years ago. The MNA said in a statement that the new owner refused to recognize the existing contract and have been working on negotiations ever since.
However, Essentia Health told WCCO there was no MNA contract in place when it purchased the hospital in August 2020. The organization has a website with a history of bargaining with the MNA at Moose Lake.
"We are disappointed by the vote because we believe no one wins in a strike – and we have a shared responsibility to provide quality care to the patients and communities we are privileged to serve," said Essentia Health in a statement.
Nurses at Moose Lake say they are seeking a contract to address understaffing and retention at the hospital.
The MNA says executives refused requests for language that would allow nurses more input and predictability in their schedules.
"We have been bargaining with Essentia for a fair contract for two years. We are fighting for a contract that will help ensure retention of our nurses, a contract that will align with other facilities in our service area to keep experienced nurses," said Sarah Lambert, RN.
The vote to strike required a super-majority to pass and authorized negotiation leaders to call a strike following a 10-day notice to employers.
Essentia Health says it is confident it can reach an agreement with the MNA. According to its website, the next bargain session is scheduled for next Monday.
The MNA represents over 50 nurses at Moose Lake and has more than 22,000 members across the states of Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and Wisconsin.
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