Minn. nurses demand control over staff levels

By Helen Meyers
September 26, 2022

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Some 15,000 members of the Minnesota Nurses Association began a three-day strike Sept. 12 at 15 hospitals in the Twin Cities and Duluth areas. They have been working without a contract since June 1. Hundreds picketed outside United and Children’s hospitals here.

“We want some control over staffing, but they refuse to have any contract language on this.” Ali Marcanti, a nurse at United and member of the union negotiating committee, told the Militant. “We want a fair wage increase and paid family leave.”

A major issue is having enough nurses for safe staffing. Many of those picketing explained they face too many hours and a patient-to-nurse ratio that make it impossible to give each patient enough attention. Under these conditions, many nurses have left, making the problem worse.

The nurses association is asking for a 30% wage increase over a three-year contract while the bosses have offered 10%.

The problems facing hospital workers and patients “are the direct result of the choices made by hospital CEOs who have pushed corporate health care practices onto our hospitals, with disastrous results,” members of the negotiating committee wrote in a Sept. 9 Minneapolis Star Tribune  op-ed. Twenty-one clinics and hospitals closed in the Twin Cities area in 2020.