Strike Looms for RNs at Range Regional Health Services in Hibbing

1 Jul

Strike Looms for Registered Nurses at Range Regional Health Services in Hibbing

HIBBING, Minnesota (July 1, 2011) – Approximately 150 registered nurses represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) at Fairview-owned Range Regional Health Services (RRHS) will conduct a three-day strike for patient safety from July 11 – 14, 2011.

For the second time in four months, nurses delivered a 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 Monday, July 11, and end on Thursday, July 14 at 7:00 a.m.

Management’s final offer, made on June 15, is unacceptable to nurses.  “We are very concerned that the final offer by management will jeopardize our hospital’s ability to recruit and retain nurses in a competitive market,” said MNA negotiating team member, Robin Etter, RN.   “We’re already too tight on staffing.  If we lose nurses or can’t attract more with a competitive contract, I fear what might happen on any given shift.”   The nurses believe the staffing situation is tenuous at the hospital and real efforts must be made to increase patient safety.  “Management’s proposal results in fractured shifts, which means fractured care for our patients and we won’t stand for it,” said Etter.

Nurses also see this as a concerted effort by hospitals to impose drastic restrictions on working families.  “There is plenty of money in health care,” said MNA President Linda Hamilton, RN .  “Corporate mega-systems like Fairview just want to direct it exclusively to their profit line, rather than to assure the safety of their patients.”  Nurses in Hibbing are well aware they are not alone in this fight.  “We know nurses all over the state and even the country are fighting the same battles with corporate executives that we face here,” said Etter. “The names of the towns and hospitals may change, but the issues are the same.”

With this second notice, the bargaining unit is sending a clear message they don’t intend to back down to corporate demands for concessions.  “They forced this vote, and they got their answer:  We will strike for our patients, our profession and for our community,” said Etter.

Options remain for the two parties to return to the bargaining table any time before July 11 in order to achieve an agreement.

More information and background is available online at http://www.mnnurses.org/Hibbing. Community members are encouraged to share their story and concerns about staffing at www.HibbingPatientSafety..com

Founded in 1905, the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) represents 20,000 nurses in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. MNA was also a founding member of National Nurses United, which represents more than 175,000 nurses across the United States.

Support Hibbing Nurses!  Sign up to walk the picket line July 11, 12, 13.

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