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 In Minnesota thousands of nurses launched a three-day strike on Monday, pressing for salary increases by resolving understaffing stresses that have worsened in the coronavirus pandemic they say will help improve patient care.

Some 15,000 nurses and Duluth areas walked out in Minneapolis at seven health care systems, the largest strike ever by private-sector nurses, a number the union says. They have recruited temporary nurses and expected to maintain most services, said by the affected hospitals.

Outside Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis scores of nurses began walking the picket line at 7 a.m., one of 15 hospitals affected. With such slogans as, “Something’s got to give,” several said their chief concern was patient safety Clad in the red T-shirts of the Minnesota Nurses Association and carrying signs.

Tracey Dittrich, 50, for nearly 24 years a registered nurse at the hospital, said that the nurses are tired of “hospital administrators and managers that are telling us to do more.” Later, she said that the hospitals need more nurses as well as more staff support, and also require higher pay that will help.

We just couldn’t get to them all fast enough because for a breathing treatment another child maybe had to wait.”

Out of concern for patients, the nurses chose a 3-day strike, rather than an open-ended walkout, said Union spokesman, Sam Fettig.

Over three years the hospitals have offered a 10-12% wage increase, but nurses are seeking more than 30%. Allina and Fairview hospitals have posted operating losses and that the cost of such sharp wage increases would be passed along with patients, noting that hospital leaders called their wage demands unaffordable.

Several of the Twin Cities hospitals under strike said in a joint statement that “The union rejected all requests and held fast to wage demands for mediation that were unrealistic, unreasonable and unaffordable”.

The statement said people should continue to call 911 or go to emergency rooms with the emergency issues. In being treated, people may see some delay despite staffing hospitals with experienced nurse managers, trained replacement nurses and some existing traveller nurses”.

In the U.S., Jean Ross, co-president of National Nurses United, billed as the largest union and professional association of registered nurses, said that more nurses are pushing back across the country and that most job actions revolve around the same core issues: staffing and pay.

“In pointing out the pandemic did so many things, clarifying and shining a light on what life is like in the hospitals and what nurses are expected to do, which is a lot with very little”, said Ross. “We have to have a bottom line where you just can’t shove any more patients on to that nurse.”

Another registered nurse at Children’s, Kathy Misk, works in case management and helps families transition from hospital care to caring for their child at home. 

Misk said a shortage of nurses has sometimes required keeping “high-tech” children who need special equipment to breathe, for example – from going home as soon as they otherwise could. She said that raising pay could help the hospital keep nurses on staff.

Misk said that “With low wages you don’t retain nurses”. “When you incentivize nurses with pay, what you’re saying to them is they have worth, and they are able to stay in one job.”

About Misk’s statement when asked that some children have not gone home as soon as they might have, Nick Petersen, a spokesman for Children’s, said that “based on the expert judgment of the medical professionals who care for them” children are admitted or discharged.  

By Allina Health, M Health Fairview, Children’s Hospital, North Memorial and HealthPartners the hospitals affected by the strike are operated. It is Essential and St Luke’s, in Duluth.

At UW Health a potential three-day strike by nurses, Separately, In Wisconsin, one of the state’s largest health systems, that was set to start on Tuesday was averted when the nurses and the UW Hospital board reached an agreement. Details weren’t immediately released.

In union activity nationwide the Minnesota nurses’ strike comes amid an upsurge.

Unless Congress steps in to block it a national railroad strike could begin as early as Friday. The major freight carriers go beyond a proposed deal recommended by arbitrators appointed by President Joe Biden the two largest railroad unions have been demanding.

Starbucks, are among those trying to stifle ongoing unionization efforts, among some high-profile companies. To unionize more than 230 U.S. Starbucks stores have voted, which Starbucks opposes, since last year.

Ehlke reported from suburban Milwaukee. Steve Karnowski contributed to this report in Minneapolis. Ahmed is a corps member for America Statehouse News Initiative for the Associated Press or Report. For America is a nonprofit national service program to report on undercovered issues that places journalists in local newsrooms.

Source:- https://liveblogsus.com/thousands-of-minnesota-nurses-launch-3-day-strike-over-pay/


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