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Thousands of Minnesota nurses vote to authorize strike

Minnesota nurses vote to authorize strike
Minnesota nurses vote to authorize strike 02:02

MINNEAPOLIS -- Thousands of Minnesota nurses voted Monday in favor of going on strike.

The Minnesota Nurses Association says it's concerned about staff shortages, retention and safety. MNA, which represents 15,000 nurses, says it's lost 2,000 members since the beginning of the pandemic.

"The nurses of Minnesota have spoken," MNA President Mary Turner said during a Tuesday morning press conference. "Our hospitals are understaffed, overcrowded, nurses are overworked, and patients are paying the price."

MNA says these issues have gone unresolved in negotiations with hospital executives over the last five months. 

"Nurses do not take this decision lightly, but we are determined to take a stand at the bargaining table, and on the sidewalk if necessary, to put patients before profits in our hospitals," Turner said. 

Now that the strike has been authorized via member vote, union leaders will now set a strike date with at least 10 days' notice to employers, but could keep negotiating and reach a settlement before a strike happens.

Hospitals say they're disappointed that the union has chosen to vote on a strike and that they are increasing wages. 

In a statement, Allina Health said despite the vote, it hoped to avoid a strike by returning to the negotiating table later this month.

Twin Cities Hospitals - which includes Children's Minnesota, North Memorial Health, Fairview Health and Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital - released an update Monday.

The hospital group says the nurses' union has rejected requests for mediation and the union's wage demands are "not economically feasible or responsible to our community members who would ultimately pay the price."

The nurses are from the Twin Cities and Twin Ports up in Duluth.

"Nurses in Minnesota have spoken": MN Nurses Association announces that strike has been authorized 06:04
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