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The Minnesota Nurses Association has authorized a strike in their fight for better contracts and putting "patients before profits." The union, home to approximately 15,000 nurses in the Twin Cities and Twin Ports of Duluth-Superior, said Monday's strike vote passed "overwhelmingly."

“Hospital executives with million-dollar salaries have created a crisis of retention and care in our healthcare system, as more nurses are leaving the bedside, putting quality patient care at risk,” said Turner, union president who works as an ICU nurse at North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale. 

“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.”

The 15,000 nurses are employed at 14 hospitals in Minnesota and one in Superior, Wisconsin. 

  • M Health Fairview University of Minnesota
  • M Health Fairview Southdale in Edina
  • M Health Fairview St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul
  • M Health Fairview St. John's Hospital in Maplewood
  • Essentia Health St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth
  • Essentia Health St. Mary's Hospital in Superior
  • Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park
  • Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis
  • Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids
  • United Hospital in St. Paul
  • Mercy Hospital – Unity Campus in Fridley
  • Children's Minnesota in Minneapolis
  • Children's Minnesota in St. Paul
  • North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale
  • St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth

Chris Rubesch, a registered nurse in Duluth who serves as the union's first vice president, said corporate polices "have left nurses understaffed and overworked, while patients are overcharged, local hospitals and services are closed, and executives take home million-dollar paychecks."

According to the union, chief executive officers from the seven health systems operating the 15 hospitals take home annual compensation ranging from a low end of more than $700,000 at St. Luke's, where there are co-CEOs, to the $3.5 million M Health Fairview CEO James Hereford makes. 

Nurses say patient adverse events, which state law requires be reported, are increasing, threatening the lives of those who seek hospital care and putting nurses at risk of losing their license.

Still, the union says their ideas for improving employee retention and attracting the next generation of nurses continue to be rebuffed at the bargaining table.

Twin Cities Hospitals Group, which includes Children's Minnesota, North Memorial Health, Fairview Health and Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital, said the nurses' union has demanded wage increases by 32-39% over the next three-year contract.

"Increases like this would cost hundreds of millions of dollars across Twin Cities Hospitals and are not economically feasible or responsible to our community members who would ultimately pay the price," the Group's website states.

The hospital negotiators say they've proposed below-inflation increases of between 10% to 12% over three years.

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