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Thousands Of Minnesota Nurses Prepare To Picket As Contract Expiration Date Nears

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - Thousands of nurses plan to picket in a few weeks as contract negotiations continue at several hospitals.

Some nurses were creating signs on Saturday to hold the line. They say they're overworked, understaffed, and patients are paying too much for health care.

"Our healthcare system is in critical condition," said RN and President of the Minnesota Nurses Association Mary C. Turner. "Hospital executives with million-dollar salaries have created a staffing and retention crisis which is pushing nurses away from the bedside.

Nurses say that in the end, better contracts mean better care for patients. They plan to hold an informational picket on June 1.

The union says 15,000 nurses in the Twin Cities and Duluth area are bargaining for new contracts. The current contracts for the nurses in the Twin Cities expires on May 31, while the contracts for Twin Ports nurses is set to expire on June 30.

The Twin Cities Hospitals group says that they respect the nurses right to conduct picketing. "For the past several weeks, we've been engaged in good-faith negotiations to reach a fair and equitable agreement. We will continue to bring forth proposals that recognize the efforts of our nurses, the realities of the business environment, and the need to continually reshape the way health care is provided to the community we serve," the group said in a statement.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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