Archive | Activism RSS feed for this section

Nurse-Endorsed Candidate Jim Abeler Wins Republican Primary

13 Jan
Minnesota Senate candidate Jim Abeler

Minnesota Senate candidate Jim Abeler

MNA-endorsed candidate Jim Abeler won an important Republican primary for the special state senate election in Senate District 35 yesterday. Abeler now moves on to the special general election on February 9, to replace Senator Branden Petersen, who resigned his seat.

Issues that directly affect our profession – like attempts to allow others to do registered nursing work – are decided in the political arena. To ensure that our voices are heard in those deliberations, MNA endorses candidates who stand with us on the issues. MNA is proud to support Jim Abeler.
Jim is a chiropractor and former Republican State Representative from Anoka. MNA nurses endorsed Jim several times for State Representative, and we have worked well with him on nursing, health care and labor issues. We know we can count on Jim Abeler to stand with us on issues of nursing practice and patient safety.

Abeler takes time to talk to nurses at North

Then Representative Jim Abeler with MNA nurses at the 2014 informational picket at North Memorial Medical Center.

MNA nurses conducted phone banks to nurses in SD35 and are pleased that we played a small part in Abeler’s win.

For nurses who live in SD 35 (Anoka, Ramsey and parts of Coon Rapids), please get out to vote for Jim Abeler in the general election on February 9. Polls will be open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm. To look up your polling place visit

Apply for MN Board of Nursing, other public service opportunities

4 Nov

MNA Political Organizer, Geri Katz

By Geri Katz, MNA Political Organizer

Have you ever thought about serving the public beyond your day-to-day job? Applying your nursing expertise to public service in order to make the public safer in different health care settings throughout Minnesota?

The State of Minnesota is always looking for interested and engaged citizens to serve on state boards and councils. Several have designated positions for RNs.

The one most nurses are most familiar with is the Minnesota Board of Nursing, which protects the public’s health and safety through regulation of nursing education, licensure and practice.

Two RN positions, one APRN position, and one LPN position, on the Board of Nursing will open up in 2016. Governor Dayton will fill those positions. The time commitment, approximately 150‐175 hours annually, includes monthly meetings in St. Paul and ad hoc committee meetings.

Several other board or council vacancies call for an RN or a union member as well. Here’s the full list:

  • Minnesota Board of Nursing: two RN positions, one APRN position, one LPN position;
  • Maternal and Child Health Advisory Task Force: “professionals with expertise in maternal and child health services;”
  •  Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities: one nurse representative;
  • Minnesota e-Health Advisory Committee: one nurse representative;
  •  Medical Services Review Board: one Registered Nurse Alternate;
  • Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Council (Appointed by Commissioner of Labor): two labor members, one Occupational Health professional;
  • Occupational Safety and Health Review Board: one labor member;
  • Public Employees Retirement Association: one retired annuitant;
  •  State Advisory Council on Mental Health: one Registered Nurse.

These are all appointed positions, some of which will be competitive. MNA staff can help you through the application process if you want a chance to serve.

They are all great opportunities to put your nursing experience to work in a new setting, learn more about how state government affects nursing and health care, and be a part of the team that makes decisions about our future.

If you are interested in learning more about any of these opportunities to serve the public, please contact Geri Katz.

Retaliation is a real issue in nursing

31 Jul

Nurses throughout Minnesota know of instances of employers intimidating and retaliating against staff for a wide variety reasons, like reporting unsafe staffing,  speaking up when they disagree with a program or pilot, reporting managerial unethical or illegal behavior, engaging in union activities, and many more.

These types of incidents can cause managers and administration some headaches, but they are all part of the ebb and flow of the employer-employee relationship. Unless, of course, the employee is punished for legal and ethical actions.

Unfortunately, retaliation in the workplace is all too commonplace – and not just in hospitals.

For nurses, the opportunities for retaliation are higher than in many other fields. In addition to issues with employers over the way they conduct business, nurses’ licenses require them to follow an additional set of rules that often contradict their employers. They are responsible for ensuring that every assignment they accept is safe for the patient, refusing overtime if they don’t feel safe, and reporting situations in which a patient is injured or in grave danger.

Because of that, the opportunities for “disappointing” the employer increase in the nursing field, as are the opportunities for retaliation.

Some recent examples show that retaliation in the healthcare field is not improving:

  • The National Labor Relations Board issued a formal complaint last October against North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale for harassing and intimidating staff for their participation in an informational picket calling for safe staffing levels. The hospital fired one employee, revoked work agreements and forced employees to work weekends, “repeatedly interrogated” staff about their union activities and falsely claimed that talking about union activities was prohibited.
  • A nurse at another Metro hospital was recently targeted by management and her CNO for speaking up about a pilot project that she and many others thought was endangering patient safety. After her union colleagues protested, the nurse was asked to “review hospital policy” that she never violated in the first place.
  • After a nurse filed a Concern for Safe Staffing form, she was called into the office and asked why she went to the union with her concerns. The nurse defended her actions, and said her union was the proper place to share concerns. The hospital attempted to terminate her a short time later, but MNA rose to her defense.
  • A nurse who refused an unsafe assignment was berated in front of colleagues, pulled into a manager’s office and berated some more. Other nurses were so upset at the treatment, that they stood up and defended the member.

As you can see, hospitals have many ways to retaliate against nurses and other staff.

The good news is that nurses do not have to put up with this. The law and your union – your colleagues –  are on your side.

It’s illegal for employers to retaliate against you for any concerted activity about the terms and conditions of employment, such as speech or other actions that don’t disrupt the workplace in a private or public facility; and it’s especially illegal for employers to retaliate against nurses for blowing the whistle on a situation that in the nurses’ professional judgment risks patient safety.

If you have experienced workplace retaliation, share you story with us.


Video: MNA Nurses Deliver Valentines to MN Dept of Health

25 Feb

100 nurses delivered more than 2,000 Concern for Safe Staffing Forms to Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger. They lined up to tell their stories of unsafe staffing situations and the effects it has on patients.



Video: 2015 MNA Nurses Day on the Hill

18 Feb

150 MNA member nurses came to the Capitol in St. Paul to tell lawmakers they want a Safe Patient Standard and that nurses and patients are not safe in the workplace.

Nurses bring ‘passionate commitment’ to 2015 Day on the Hill

12 Feb


MNA DOH at MNDH web (2)

Inspiring, empowering, and energizing. Those are some of the words MNA members used to describe Day on the Hill 2015.

About 150 RNs from throughout Minnesota stood up for their patients, their profession, and their communities at the February 9-10 event in St. Paul.

Members sat down with their legislators to share their experiences as bedside RNs to show why a Safe Patient Standard and workplace violence prevention legislation are needed. They told their personal stories of instances where patient safety was threatened because of understaffing; and times when they were subjected to workplace violence themselves.

They crowded into a room at the Minnesota Department of Health to deliver more than 2,000 ‘valentines’ – Concern for Safe Staffing Forms filed in 2014, documenting situations where patients were at risk due to low staffing levels.

Dozens of RNs lined up to share their stories at an emotional meeting with Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger.

Some teared up telling their stories and as they identified with other nurses’ concerns.

“We are bringing these valentines from nurses on day shift, night shift, holiday shift, weekends, holidays,” said MNA President Linda Hamilton. “Here’s proof that we need more nurses. We want to do what’s best for our patients.”

Nurses document unsafe staffing in their hospitals by filling out Concern for Safe Staffing Forms and sharing them with their supervisors and the Minnesota Nurses Association.

“The hospitals aren’t giving you the information you need, so we will,” said oncology nurse Theresa Peterson, RN at North Memorial Hospital. “When (cancer) patients need medications, it’s an hourly thing. So if you have five other patients, they don’t get seen.”

Commissioner Ehlinger promised that he and his staff would read the forms and use them to inform their policy discussions.

Other highlights of Day on the Hill:

  •  National Nurses United Public Policy Director Michael Lighty brought the national perspective in his remarks during the February 9 kickoff. He urged MNA members to use their NNU Public Policy Director Michael Lighty “passionate commitment” for their patients when advocating for change at the state and national levels to “transform our country.”
  • St. John’s Hospital nurse Amy Schmidt spoke publicly for the first time about the patient attack on nurses on her unit last November. She described how the attack unfolded and how it changed the lives of everyone involved. St johns nurseSchmidt said every hospital should have a plan to deal with crises. “I urge all nurses to get involved and stop thinking that workplace violence is part of our jobs. It is not.”
  • Rep. Joe Atkins told members their voices do make a difference. “There’s not a legislator who doesn’t respect what you do. You have a case to make.”
    He promised to fight for safe patientjoe a staffing and workplace violence prevention legislation.

Urgent message for MNA members

13 Dec

Please contact Senators Klobuchar and Franken today – and ask them to vote against the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act (CROmnibus) bill unless unacceptable provisions are removed.

The bill, which narrowly passed the House this week, is up for a vote in the Senate this weekend.

According to National Nurses United, the measure contains new handouts for Wall Street, wealthy political donors, and attacks the living standards of pensioners.

In a letter to members of the Senate on Friday, NNU Co-President Karen Higgins warned that “cutting pensions for seniors on fixed incomes, providing one more give-away to Wall Street and allowing the rich to further corrupt our nation’s elections move this country in the wrong direction.”

MNA members can compose and send messages directly to the senators from the online Action Center.

pennsion piggy bank


Video: Help Nurses Elect Candidates Who Help Nurses

16 Sep



Join other dedicated members of the Minnesota Nurses Association who are supporting MNA endorsed candidates.  Go to
OR call Eileen Gavin at 651-414-2871.


Help elect candidates who support nurses

22 Aug

leadership compass

Minnesota’s party primaries are over, and the November 4 general election slate of candidates is set.  It’s now time to make sure that candidates who share nurses’ values are elected.

If we hope to make progress toward staffing legislation that will keep patients safe, nurses need to help make sure voters to go the polls and elect candidates who will advocate for nursing, our patients, and our communities.

Nurses are the most trusted profession in the United States and the best messenger to let voters know about the candidates who will be on the side of working families.

You can join other nurses and make phone calls, talk to your neighbors and friends, and go to candidate events.

There are opportunities in every part of the state to help elect candidates who will stand with nurses.

Saturday, August 23, 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., Hopkins

Rep. Yvonne Selcer (48A) canvassing
Coordinated DFL office, 915 Main St., Hopkins


Tuesday, August 26, 5-8 p.m.
Phonebanking at MNA office
345 Randolph Ave, Suite 200, St. Paul

Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 5-8 p.m.
Phonebanking at MNA office
345 Randolph Ave, Suite 200, St. Paul

Thursday, September 4,  4:30-8:30 p.m.
2014 Labor Day of Action
Door knocking and phone banking for pro-labor candidates at locations around Minnesota.

MNA’s website is updated frequently with new opportunities to volunteer throughout Minnesota.

You can sign up for activities on the Member Portal on MNA’s website.


Sign up for the Minnesota State Fair!

5 Aug

Join MNA nurses by speaking up for your profession and a minimum standard of care at the 2014 Minnesota State Fair.  Go to to sign up.  Volunteer shifts are filling up fast!