Press Release: Hibbing RNs Set Strike Date of May 4th

22 Apr

Media Contact: John Nemo, Minnesota Nurses Association, 651-414-2863

HIBBING, Minnesota (April 22, 2011) – Approximately 150 Nurses at Fairview-owned Range Regional Health Services (RRHS) will be conducting a three-day strike for patient safety from May 4-7, 2011.

This afternoon, Nurses delivered the formal 10-day notice of their intent to strike notice – which is required by federal labor laws – to RRHS management. The three-day, unfair labor practice strike will begin at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 4, and end on Saturday, May 7 at 7:00 a.m.

“The hospital left us with no choice,” said April Klander, RN, chair of the Minnesota Nurses Association’s bargaining team at RRHS. “For nearly nine months, hospital executives have turned a deaf ear toward our concerns about staffing levels and the safety of our patients. They have forced us into this situation, and our nurses have responded loud and clear: We’re willing to strike for our patients and our profession.”

Klander said the nurses at RRHS remain willing to return to the bargaining table at any time before May 4 in order to hammer out a new contract at the bargaining table.  A further negotiation session is being scheduled for late next week.

“It remains our sincere hope that a strike can be avoided,” she said. “We’d love nothing more than to see our hospital’s executives come back to the bargaining table and get serious about addressing our concerns related to patient safety and staffing levels.”

Along with staffing 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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