Minnesota nurses set July 6 for open-ended strike date if talks over with hospitals failBy Steve Karnowski, AP
Friday, June 25, 2010
Minnesota nurses set July 6 strike date
MINNEAPOLIS — Some 12,000 nurses are poised to launch an open-ended strike on July 6 in a dispute with 14 Minnesota hospitals over staffing, pensions and other issues.
The Minnesota Nurses Association on Friday filed its required 10-day notice setting the strike date after negotiations Thursday went nowhere. The nurses already staged a 24-hour walkout earlier this month.
Staffing levels are the top issue in the contract dispute. The union is seeking fixed nurse-to-patient ratios, calling it a matter of patient safety. But the 14 Twin Cities area hospitals involved say that would raise their costs by $250 million a year and wouldn’t improve the quality of care.
The next negotiations are scheduled for Tuesday, and the union on Friday also announced strike preparation meetings for Wednesday.
Hospitals spokeswoman Maureen Schreiner said they went into Thursday’s negotiations expecting that the union would modify its proposals and came away disappointed.
“What we experienced is the union did not make any changes to its proposals and is rushing toward a strike, and we think we owe it to our nurses and the community to negotiate and not to strike,” Schreiner said.
MNA spokesman John Nemo did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment, but the union said it planned to issue a formal statement later Friday. The union said the nurses would walk off the job beginning at 7 a.m. on July 6.
The hospitals kept operating with few if any disruptions during the one-day strike June 10 by bringing in extra nonunion staff, hiring 2,800 replacement nurses and reducing patient counts.
The union said Monday’s vote to authorize an open-ended strike was overwhelming.
Minnesota Nurses Association: www.mnnurses.org
Twin Cities Hospitals: www.twincitieshospitals.com
Tags: Labor Issues, Minneapolis, Minnesota, North America, Nursing Care, Personnel, Professional Organizations, Social Groups And Organizations, St. Paul, United States