Nurses vote to authorize strike

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Twin Ports and Twin Cities nurses voted Monday to authorize a strike.

The Minnesota Nurses Association said the vote was “overwhelming.” A supermajority was required in order to authorize the strike.

“Corporate healthcare policies in our hospitals have left nurses understaffed and overworked, while patients are overcharged, local hospitals and services are closed, and executives take home million-dollar paychecks,” Chris Rubesch, a nurse at Essentia in Duluth said.

Nurse contracts in the Twin Ports expired June 30.

They have to give health systems 10 days notice before a strike.

RELATED STORY: MNA nurses to hold strike vote on Monday

In a new statement Tuesday, St. Luke’s said again the offer they are giving to nurses is fair in their opinion.

We are proud to recognize the important contributions of our nurses and all employees by offering competitive compensation packages and exceptional benefits, while also striving to keep healthcare affordable for our community. We believe our offer of a 10.25% wage increase over 3 years is fair and reasonable. MNA continues asking for a 36.5% wage increase over 3 years.

We will again ask MNA to agree to inviting a mediator to join us at the table. Mediators are trained professionals who can assist in successfully negotiating contracts when the two sides are far apart.

We want to reassure our patients that we are actively planning. If MNA chooses to strike, they are required to give us at least a 10-day notice before the actual strike. At that point we will finalize our plans, so we will be ready and able to continue providing safe, quality care for our community during any work stoppage.”

Essentia Health said Tuesday says they have plans in place, should the strike happen.

Patient care is our primary concern and Essentia Health is proud to have some of the best nurses in the country.

We are disappointed by the vote because we believe no one wins in a strike – and we have a shared responsibility to provide quality care to the patients and communities we are privileged to serve. Should it become necessary, we have contingency plans to ensure we can continue to care for our patients in the event of an MNA strike. Please note, however, that this vote does not mean a strike is imminent; if the union decides to strike, it is required to give a 10-day notice.

We are confident we can reach a new agreement that continues to support quality patient care and good local jobs because of our strong track record of reaching mutually beneficial agreements.

You can learn more about the status of bargaining and our history of successful labor negotiations by visiting our public website”