Twin Cities Hospitals willing to return to bargaining table

Nurses picketing
Nurses picket in front of United Hospital in St. Paul on June 10, 2010 during their one-day strike against Twin Cities Hospitals.
MPR Photo/Mark Zdechlik

Twin Cities Hospitals said Thursday they're willing to return to the bargaining table with the nurses union -- under certain conditions. The hospitals say they'll return to negotiations if the union agrees to a "no lockout, no strike" pledge through July 31.

The move comes four days before the Minnesota Nurses Union plans to vote on whether to hold another strike. The union has yet to respond to the hospital's latest request.

Earlier in the week, the nurses union said it was prepared to modify its proposals in an effort to reach a settlement.

Hospitals officials say they're hopeful that if talks resume, they may now be able to make progress on the issues that led to a stalemate before the union's 24-hour strike June 10.

A main sticking point in the talks is the union's demand that nurse-patient ratios be set into a new contract. The hospitals say those ratios are not needed.

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