Press Release: Bemidji RNs Begin Negotiations

20 Apr

Media Contact: John Nemo, 651-414-2863

BEMIDJI, Minnesota (April 20, 2011) – Labor contract negotiations began today for more than 230 RNs represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association and employed by Sanford Bemidji Hospital – formerly known as North Country Regional Hospital.

“We are hopeful that our nurses can continue to have the same positive relationship with our new corporate ownership that we enjoyed in the past with North Country’s management,” said Peter Danielson, RN. “It always has been and always will be our top priority to attain a contract that puts the safety of our patients first.”

Sanford Health, which has its roots in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, moved its corporate headquarters to Fargo, North Dakota, in 2009 after merging with MeritCare Health System. It has quickly instituted an aggressive business campaign in rural communities across the Midwest, buying up clinics and hospitals at a rapid pace. Its system now includes more than 800 physicians and 18,000 employees across eight states.

“This is Bemidji, and since 1898 our hospital has been there for the people of this community,” Danielson said. “Our neighbors, friends and family members have come to expect their safety as patients comes before someone else’s corporate profits. We want to ensure this remains the case, and the best way we know how is by reaching a contract agreement that puts patient safety ahead of corporate profits.”

The nurses’ current agreement with Sanford Bemidji expired on February 28, 2011, and was extended – pending the affiliation with Sanford – through May 31, 2011. If a new agreement is not reached before then, the parties can continue to negotiate under the current agreement until a new contract is agreed upon.

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