Minnesota nurses vote to authorize second strike – Twin Cities

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Leaders of the Minnesota Nurses Association said late Wednesday the groups’ 15,000 union members have voted overwhelmingly in favor of striking for the second time this year.

Nurses at a dozen Twin Cities hospitals as well as three in the Twin Ports and one in Two Harbors voted to authorize another work stoppage could begin after a 10-day notice. Union leaders called a news conference for Thursday morning to further discuss their plans.

The nurses work in the Allina, Children’s Minnesota, HealthPartners, M Health Fairview and North Memorial systems. A work stoppage means hospital leaders would have to call in temporary workers to care for patients.

Health officials said a strike would be particularly challenging with an increasing number of people battling respiratory viruses like influenza, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

Nurses and hospital leaders have been negotiating since spring to agree on a new contract. Differences remain over wages, staffing levels and safety measures.

Nurses have asked for as much as 24 percent in pay increases over a three-year deal. Hospital leaders have said they cannot afford that much and have offered as much as 14 percent.

Minnesota, like much of the nation, faces a staffing crisis in health care facilities with about 20 percent of positions currently unfilled. Nurses say more of their colleagues will leave the profession due to stress, burnout and safety concerns.

Nurses struck for three days in September — a walkout union leaders characterized as the largest private sector nurses strike in the nation.

In the metro, hospitals affected by the possible nurses strike are: Abbott Northwestern, Mercy, United, Unity, Children’s Minneapolis, Children’s St. Paul, Methodist, Riverside, Southdale, St. Joe’s, St. John’s and North Memorial. In the Twin Ports region, Essentia hospitals in Duluth and Superior, Wis., as well as St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth.

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