Metro area members of the Minnesota Nurses Association are picketing to elevate their issues directly to the hospitals.
Yesterday they targeted Children's Hospital in Minneapolis.
Negotiations between nurses and hospitals have stalemated over a new contract, even though their contract expires on May 31.
"Nurses have felt disrespected at the bargaining table, and they feel they have to take the issues of workplace safety to the hospitals' front door," said Doreen McIntyre, a nurse at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis.
"Nurses came to negotiations to tell the hospitals in person about violent incidents, about the high cost of insurance, about giving up raises while the hospital recovered from the recession. And...nothing," McIntyre said.
At the last session of negotiations between Children's nurses and management, the hospital negotiators demanded the nurses drop economic proposals addressing benefits if they wanted to receive workplace violence protections that other hospitals had already offered.
When nurses asked for a wage offer, Children's negotiators walked out.
"Nurses expect to be heard," said Elaina Hane, a nurse at Children's in St. Paul. "Nurses are coming forward with issues of feeling scared at work, of struggling to make ends meet with insurance that's pricing them out of their own healthcare. We want to work together to negotiate a contract that benefits nurses, hospitals, and patients."
In response to the contract negotiations, Andrea Mokros on behalf of the Twin Cities Hospitals stated the following.
"Since March, Twin Cities Hospitals have been bargaining with the Minnesota Nurses Association to reach a new collective bargaining agreement that recognizes the nurses’ important role in patient care, supports a culture of safety in our workplaces, and allows health systems to invest in delivering exceptional care to our communities. We remain hopeful and optimistic that we can reach agreement on a new contract soon. We are committed to ensuring our patients and community have the continuity and quality of care they deserve and depend on from our hospitals."
Children's negotiators have agreed to bargain again with nurse negotiators on Friday, May 24. Methodist nurses talk with their employer Wednesday, May 22. Fairview nurses resume negotiations on May 23. Allina nurses talk with the hospital on May 24 also. HealthEast and North Memorial nurses resume negotiations next week.
Informational pickets take place Thursday, May 23 at United, Children's St. Paul, St. Joseph's, and North Memorial hospitals. Then on Wednesday, May 29, nurses will picket Abbott, Fairview-Riverside campus, and Methodist hospitals.