Press Release: Hibbing Nurses to take Strike Vote

14 Apr

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: John Nemo, MNA (651-414-2863) or e-mail

HIBBING, Minn. (April 14, 2011) – After months of unsuccessful negotiations, 150 RNs at Fairview-owned Range Regional Health Services (RRHS) will be voting tomorrow on whether to authorize their nurse leaders to call for a strike.

“Hospital executives have left us no choice,” said April Klander, RN, chair of the Minnesota Nurses Association’s (MNA) bargaining team at RRHS. “Our nurses continue to have critical concerns related to staffing levels and the safety of our patients, yet management refuses to adequately address these concerns. We cannot continue in good conscience working in situations and circumstances that continually put our patients and ourselves at risk.”

Nurses and hospital executives have been bargaining since September 2010 in an effort to reach a new labor agreement. Results of Friday’s vote, which is being held at an undisclosed location, are expected to be announced sometime after 8:00 p.m.

“We are very disappointed that after eight months and more than a dozen negotiation sessions, hospital management will not commit to a contract that addresses employee and patient safety,” Klander said.

Along with staffing levels and patient safety, other sticking points in negotiations include hospital management’s demand to force nurses into a paid time off structure that lumps sick days and vacation time together instead of keeping the two separate. Another issue involves management demanding the ability to quickly change or extend a nurse’s shift, making it difficult for nurses planning ahead for situations such as daycare services, transportation or other circumstances.

Klander said nurses want contract language that provides for staff nurse input into the delivery of nursing care, RN input regarding staffing levels that includes acuity, or how sick patients are, and a safe work environment.

“Our patients deserve the best qualified nurses caring for them in a safe environment,” Klander said. “And we remain united in seeing this belief reflected in the language of our contract.”

Visit the Range Regional Health Services page for more information and updates.

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