Monday strike authorization vote set for 15K Twin Cities, Duluth nurses

Minnesota Nurses Association President Mary Turner
Minnesota Nurses Association President Mary Turner speaks during a legislative working group meeting on frontline worker pay at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul on July 28, 2021.
Evan Frost | MPR News 2021

Some 15,000 nurses in the Twin Cities and in the Duluth area are expected to vote on Monday whether to authorize a strike.

Union leaders have been bargaining for more than five months and been without a contract since June, Mary Turner, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association, said Thursday.

“We're not asking for the moon,” she told reporters. What we are asking our hospitals and our executives is to work with us to address our staffing, our retention and our patient care in our hospitals.”

Hospital executives have focused on wage issues and haven’t addressed concerns of understaffing that could compromise patient care, she added. The union said last year Minnesota nurses filed 8,000 "Concern for Safe Staffing" forms.

A strike authorization requires support from two-thirds of those voting. If it passes, it would authorize union leaders to call a strike with 10-day notice to employers.

In a statement, Allina Health — one of the employers involved in the contract negotiations — expressed disappointment in the decision to call for a strike authorization vote, adding, “We are hopeful we will begin to see progress at the bargaining table and avoid possible work stoppages that do not benefit anyone.”

Allina said it’s offered a package that includes a wage increase of 10.25 percent over three years along with other compensation, and has demonstrated its commitment to safety, security and other issues raised by the union.

Correction (Aug. 11, 2022): An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the forms filed by nurses around staffing concerns.

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