MNA Strike Day One: “Beyond our breaking point”

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Today marked the official first day of the MNA strike, nurses in Duluth as well as Superior lined up across Essentia and St. Luke’s Hospital to protest. It’s now the largest nurses strike in U.S. history. It started at 7am on , and goes through 7am Thursday.

Besides money, many nurses are reported saying that staffing is the largest problem they face.

“We’re tired. We don’t have breaks. We don’t we don’t have time to sit down. And, you know, patients are waiting longer to get their pain medication. They’re waiting longer to be seen by a nurse. They’re waiting longer to get the treatments that they need. So just having more staff will just help all of that,” says Becky Bixby an RN at St. Luke’s.

The MNA said they are taking these actions to stand up for patient care and working conditions at the bedside.

“We’re here for you, We’re here because of you, because we want to provide the care that we’re capable of providing and that this is not only for us nurses, but this is for the community and the patients that come in and that we truly do. We care about what we do. We love what we do,” says Chris Rubesch, Vice President of Minnesota Nurses Association.

The hospitals sent statements recently.

St. Luke’s said, in part, “We are fully prepared for the work stoppage. Our replacement agency has done a phenomenal job filling our RN needs. Every position we requested has been filled with qualified, licensed nurses who will join our other highly skilled inpatient care team members to continue providing safe, top-quality care.”

Essentia said, in part, “Essentia Health has extensive contingency plans in place to help ensure continued quality care for our patients, including uninterrupted urgent and emergency care. This includes temporarily bringing in nurses who are licensed to practice in the affected locations and redirecting qualified staff from other Essentia Health facilities to fill any needs that might arise. Our plans will allow us to continue to serve our communities with the high standards of care our patients expect from us.”