Minnesota Nurses Association announces historic strike of 15,000 nurses

The Minnesota Nurses Association on Thursday announced 15,000 nurses are going to go on strike in 10 days.

The nurses will strike for three days at 16 hospitals across seven different hospital systems in the Twin Cities and Duluth, as well as, Moose Lake and Superior, Wisconsin. The strike is the largest nurses' strike in U.S. history, according to the nurses union. 

"Hospital executives with million-dollar salaries have created a crisis of retention and care in our healthcare system, as more nurses are leaving the bedside, putting quality patient care at risk," Mary Turner, RN at North Memorial Hospital and president of the Minnesota Nurses Association, said in a statement. "Nurses do not take this decision lightly, but we are determined to take a stand at the bargaining table, and on the sidewalk if necessary, to put patients before profits in our hospitals."

Negotiations have been taking place since March without reaching a resolution. The nurses’ union has been asking for a solution to short staffing and retention issues, and an annual salary increase of more than 4%. 

The union in mid-August voted to authorize a strike. And on Thursday, union officials announced their intent to strike on Sept. 12. The hospitals where nurses plan to strike are: 

  • Riverside  (M Health Fairview)
  • Southdale (M Health Fairview)
  • St. Joseph's (M Health Fairview)
  • St. John's (M Health Fairview)
  • St. Mary's Duluth (Essentia Health)
  • St. Mary's Superior (Essentia Health)
  • Essentia Moose Lake (Essentia Health)
  • Methodist (HealthPartners)
  • Abbott Northwestern (Allina Health)
  • Mercy (Allina Health)
  • United (Allina Health)
  • Unity (Allina Health)
  • Children's Minneapolis (Children's Hospitals)
  • Children's St. Paul (Children's Hospitals)
  • North Memorial (North Memorial)
  • St. Luke's (St. Luke's)

Here's the full news conference: 

Allina Health released a statement on Thursday regarding the strike announcement. It reads: 

"We are disappointed the union is choosing to rush to a strike before exhausting all options, like engaging a mediator in negotiations which they have repeatedly rejected. The union’s premature decision to move forward with a work stoppage is not Allina Health’s desired outcome of our negotiations. We made progress this week at the negotiating table and a strike only serves to keep our valued nurses from working alongside our care team to deliver needed patient care.  

"Throughout negotiations, Allina Health has offered an economic package that includes a wage increase of 11% over the three years of the contract, additional compensation benefits, and a commitment to other priority issues, such as diversity, equity and inclusion, workplace safety and recruitment and retention. The union is still at an unsustainable 31% wage increase over three years, which is not feasible as we look long-term at our responsibility to all employees and our commitment to being a sustainable asset to the communities we serve.  

"We know agreement on important issues for both parties is possible, and it is our preference to get back to the bargaining table with the help of a mediator. However, a work stoppage does not change our commitment to providing safe and reliable care to our communities and we have plans in place to continue providing care throughout the duration of the work stoppage."