Two months since a historic, three-day strike saw roughly 15,000 Minnesota nurses walk off the job, the Minnesota Nurses Association on Thursday announced they'll again be voting to authorize another potential action.
If authorized by a two-thirds majority of voting members, the strike vote set for Wednesday, Nov. 30 would allow union leaders at the negotiating table to call a strike following a 10-day notice to hospital employers.
In a statement on its website, the Twin Cities Hospitals Group, which includes Children's Minnesota, North Memorial Health, Fairview Health and Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital, claims union leaders continue to reject offers to join hospital leaders in mediation, which the group claims is a "reasonable, fair and impartial way to find an agreement."
The union has been without a contract since June, with negotiations beginning in March. Wages have been a sticking point at the negotiating table, with tentative agreements reached on workplace safety measures and practices related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
MNA leaders have sought wage increases by 39% over the life of the next three-year contract, according to hospital leaders. As of this week, union leaders are seeking wage increases starting at 23%.
"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 Twin Cities Hospital Group states.
The nurses' union said its working at the negotiating table to solve the crises of short-staffing, retention and care in Minnesota hospitals.
"Hospital CEOs continue to take multi-million-dollar salaries while failing to solve the retention crisis pushing nurses out of the profession, negatively impacting care for Minnesota patients," MNA states. "There is no shortage of nurses in Minnesota, but deteriorating care and working conditions are driving more nurses to leave the bedside."
If the strike is authorized and called, around 15,000 nurses could again walk off the job in the Twin Cities and Twin Ports.