Official Press Release: Nurses Set Strike Date of June 10th

28 May

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: John Nemo, Minnesota Nurses Association, 651-414-2863 (office)/651-442-7176 (cell) or john.nemo@mnnurses.org

Twin Cities Nurses to Take Historic Stand for Patient Safety

ST. PAUL (May 28, 2010) – The Minnesota Nurses Association announced today that more than 12,000 Twin Cities nurses will conduct a one-day strike for patient safety beginning at 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 10, 2010.

The work stoppage will be the largest nursing-related strike in U.S. history in terms of the number of nurses involved. Previously, the largest strike in history occurred when more than 6,000 Twin Cities nurses walked off the job for 38 days in 1984 before coming to an agreement with area hospitals.

“The hospitals left us with no choice,” said Linda Hamilton, an RN in the Children’s Hospital System and President of the Minnesota Nurses Association. “Our nurses always have and always will stand up in order to protect our patients and our profession. The Twin Cities hospitals have sent their message to our nurses loud and clear – they want to put profits ahead of patients. As nurses, we’re not okay with that. We want working conditions that ensure our patients receive the safest, highest-quality nursing care possible.”

Since mid-March, more than 12,000 Minnesota nurses have been locked in contract negotiations with six different Twin Cities hospital systems representing 14 hospitals. On May 19, more than 9,200 Minnesota nurses voted by a better than 90 percent margin to resoundingly reject the hospitals’ labor contract and pension offers, thereby authorizing a strike.

Federal labor laws require nurses give a formal 10-day notice to hospitals of their intent to strike, and Twin Cities nurses are filing that paperwork today.

“We feel that a one-day, unfair labor practice strike for patient safety with a notice to our employers that our nurses will be returning to work the very next day has the maximum impact on our employers and the minimum impact on our patients and the communities we serve,” Hamilton said. “All along, our nurses have wanted to avoid this situation, but the hospitals left us no choice. They literally did not respond to a single one of our nurses’ proposals during more than two months of negotiations. They forced us into taking a strike vote.”

The hospitals and Twin Cities nurses recently agreed to come back to the bargaining table in hopes of reaching an agreement on the labor contracts and pension program that covers all 12,000 nurses, thereby potentially avoiding the June 10 strike.

“From day one, our nurses have been ready to bargain in good faith and reach an agreement that keeps our patients safe and ensures our nurses fair wages and benefits,” Hamilton said.

The chief sticking points in Minnesota negotiations have been RN-to-patient staffing ratios and the hospitals’ desire to cut the nurses’ pension, which has been in place since 1962, by more than a third.

“Twin Cities hospitals are dangerously understaffed, and our patients are needlessly suffering and sometimes even dying as a result,” Hamilton said. “As nurses, we’re tired of seeing this happen shift after shift.”

Hamilton added that the Twin Cities nurses’ pension fund accounts for roughly 1.14 percent of the hospitals’ nearly $7 billion in annual revenue, and that cost is not the issue.

“Twin Cities hospitals made nearly $700 million in profits during 2009,” Hamilton said. “Despite what they say to the public and in the media, Twin Cities hospitals are not struggling financially. Far from it. In fact, they have told us at the bargaining table repeatedly that it’s not that they can’t afford to fund our pension – it’s that they don’t want to.”

17 Responses to “Official Press Release: Nurses Set Strike Date of June 10th”

  1. Sally May 28, 2010 at 10:40 pm #

    13,000 California RNs to Strike June 10

    UC Medical Centers, plus several Ca. hospitals join forces over crisis of patient safety in state’s hospitals

    As many as 13,000 registered nurses from hospitals throughout California are issuing a one-day strike notice Friday morning over patient care shortcomings at their facilities, the California Nurses Association announced today.

    http://www.calnurses.org/media-center/press-releases/2010/may/13-000-california-rns-to-strike-june-10.html

  2. Erik June 1, 2010 at 7:49 pm #

    Hello. My name is Erik, and I’m a Registered Nurse not with the union working in the metro area. I’ve been doing a lot of research on this issue, and I have many questions, that perhaps you can help me answer.
    1. How many MNA nurses are part time status?
    2. How many hours must be worked to claim full time status a week?
    3. Can someone link the study that claims patient mortality will go down if we tighten ratios?
    4. What happens if an MNA member crosses the picket line?
    5. It appears that many TCH systems have offered to go back to the bargaining table. This offer was accepted by the MNA, and a day later the strike was officially announced. Is this true? Thoughts?
    6. Why is a one day strike effective?
    7. Can anyone give me examples of other professions where 4/4/4 + exp wage increases are a standard?
    8. Thoughts on NBER’s study that say Pt mortality increase by 20% during a nurse strike?

    Thanks for your input/answers/analysis. I’m very interested in this situation, but there are a lot of questions specifically pertaining to MNA policy and practices that i need answered before I can move forward with my final stance.

    Currently, I think the passion is great, I just disagree with your current method of solvancy.

    ~Erik

    • mnnurses June 1, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

      Erik, your IP address says you sent this from Park Nicollet’s offices. So are you a nurse there? Or management? Other?

    • mnnurses June 1, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

      Erik. Here are answers as best I can get them right now.
      1. Only 1,300 Twin Cities nurses of the 12,800 involved in these talks are full-time.
      2. It all depends on which type of FT benefits you’re talking about.
      3. Here is a link to studies on this issue: http://mnnurses.org/news/press-releases/national-study-more-nurses-less-deaths and this: http://mnablog.com/2010/05/17/mnas-proposed-safe-staffing-ratios-would-save-twin-cities-hospitals-money/
      4. Since you’re not an MNA Member RN why does this concern you?
      5. The TCH Systems had made public statements saying they wanted to resume negotiations but had not formally asked for or set up any times/dates/locations to do so. In 7 weeks of bargaining they did not respond to a single proposal from MNA nurses. Not one. Also after the strike press conference Friday, MNA Nurses told the TCH we would bargain every day/all day until an agreement was reached. The TCH responded that they ONLY wanted to bargain on June 2 and June 4 and would NOT want to talk at all after June 6. What are your thoughts on this?
      6. A one-day strike has the minimum impact on our patients and the community while having the maximum impact on our employers in terms of letting them know where our nurses stand on these issues. Here is a link to one-day strikes: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/05/19/berman/
      7. We are not asking for 4/4/4 across the board and have said from day one that economic issues are not what is holding these talks up. The staffing/patient safety issue is.
      8. Why would the hospitals’ continue to say forcing our nurses out on strike will not create any patient safety issues inside their walls in light of this study and others like it? Of course it will and again this is one of the key reasons our nurses are conducting a one-day strike for patient safety and staffing issues. The last thing our nurses want to do is strike, yet are being forced out by TCH Systems that literally have not responded to a single proposal in 7+ weeks of bargaining.

      • Erik June 2, 2010 at 1:40 am #

        Thanks for your reply. I’ll be back later to post some more responses and follow up questions, but i have a critical question. The research you used, by Dr Aiken, is this the prime study mobilizing the motion to strike?

      • mnnurses June 2, 2010 at 2:00 am #

        Erik there are numerous studies including the one you mentioned. And most important data of all is the input of 12,000 Twin Cities nurses on the front lines of the patient safety issue. If you really want to know if staffing is an issue ask your fellow RNs. The live this on a daily basis.

  3. Erik June 1, 2010 at 8:04 pm #

    Also, Addendum.

    What were the vote tally finals? 90% of 12,000 is different from 9000 votes casted, which resulted in 90% rejection. Sources have cited around 9000 votes casted, and 90% of that would be around 8100, which makes the vote pass at 67.5% of voting body. While still appears supermajority, I need more statistics. Thanks

    • mnnurses June 1, 2010 at 8:09 pm #

      Erik rejection for each individual system ranged from 90-95 percent. Meaning 90-95 percent in each of the six systems voted NO. Same for the pension.

      • Erik June 1, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

        Do you have specific voting data for each system? I would like to analyze the results.

  4. Erik June 1, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    Sorry, Didn’t your ablve question. I’m an RN.

    • mnnurses June 1, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

      An RN where? What hospital?

  5. Erik June 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    I’m not currently a hospital RN. I’m in a Clinic setting. Why do you ask?

    • mnnurses June 1, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

      Just curious – we have had a lot of problems with hospital management and hospital PR people posing as MN Nurses and trying to stir up negative comments/etc.

  6. Erik June 1, 2010 at 8:35 pm #

    Of course. My wish isnt to stir up negativity, just to attain higher clarity and discuss the issues at hand. I hope my questions werent viewed in a negative fashion. Opposition/disaggreement does not equal disrespect in my humble opinion 😀

  7. beaney June 2, 2010 at 1:49 am #

    ERIK, Cut the crap. We all know you are one of Himle & Horner’s PR blogger brigade, ok?
    Buhbye.

    • Erik June 2, 2010 at 5:12 am #

      i beg your pardon?

      • Erik June 2, 2010 at 5:18 am #

        is discussion, research, and understanding not acceptable on this blog, beaney? i’ve asked questions and for clarification. nothing more. i don’t feel that unwarranted accusations are necessary.

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