Minnesota nurses' strike averted after tentative contract announcement

St. Paul, Minnesota - The Minneapolis Nurses Association (MNA) announced on Tuesday that it has reached a tentative contract agreement with hospital executives, averting a 15,000-strong strike set to begin on Sunday.

Minnesota nurses rally to demand that hospitals put patients before profits.
Minnesota nurses rally to demand that hospitals put patients before profits.  © Screenshot/Facebook/Minnesota Nurses Association

After nine months of negotiations and a successful strike authorization vote, nurses in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and Twin Ports of Duluth and Superior have reached a tentative deal with hospital administrators.

The nurses, who are demanding better wages and working conditions, have been working without a contract since the summer.

The deal reached this week addresses many of the concerns that have been plaguing Minnesota hospitals, union leaders say, including providing an 18% pay increase over three years for nurses in the Twin Cities and a 17% increase in the Twin Ports. Preceptors, who help train new nurses, and charge nurses, who help coordinate the work of other nurses on a shift, are also guaranteed wage increases.

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What's more, the agreement includes language to address chronic understaffing for the first time, giving nurses greater say in the process. Nurses had been urging hospitals for months to put patients before profits by guaranteeing safe staffing levels.

"This tentative agreement is a historic win for nurses and patients at the bedside," MNA President Mary C. Turner said in a press release. "For years, hospital executives have been pushing nurses out of the profession by under-staffing our units and under-valuing our nurses. This tentative agreement will help to keep nurses at the bedside, where we will keep fighting to oppose the corporate healthcare policies which threaten our hospital systems and the care our patients deserve."

With the announcement, a strike set to begin on Sunday has been called off as nurses prepare to vote on the tentative agreement.

Cover photo: Screenshot/Facebook/Minnesota Nurses Association

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