The Minnesota Nurses Association announced a vote will be held Monday to authorize a strike for the union's 15,000 nurses in the Twin Cities and Duluth.
Mary Turner, the union's president and an intensive care unit nurse at North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale, said five months of negotiations with hospital executives have stalled, leaving nurses on the job without a contract since June.
Speaking at a press conference Thursday, nurses with the union said understaffing, driven by high rates of turnover, has created unsafe conditions for both patients and employees.
Minnesota Nurses Association First Vice President Chris Rubesch, a cardiac nurse at Essentia Health in Duluth, said the upcoming strike vote comes after petitions, press conferences and informational picket lines have failed to get the attention of hospital leaders, who nurses allege are putting profits over the lives of patients.
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.
A two-thirds vote among the union members is required to authorize a strike.