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Duluth nurses set the stage for 24-hour strike

Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 19, 2010

Nurses in Duluth voted overwhelmingly to reject a new labor contract, setting the stage for a 24-hour strike. More than 90 percent of nurses who voted from St. Mary's Medical Center and SMDC Medical Center, and more than 86 percent of those from St. Luke's Hospital voted to reject the contract offer primarily because it did not include language that would allow them to close a unit to new admissions if they felt overwhelmed. "The hospitals left us with no choice," said Steve Strand, a registered nurse at SMDC Medical Center. "We can't handle another three years of one nurse taking care of eight, nine or even 12 patients at once. Neither can our patients. How many more patients have to sit in their own stool because nobody can answer their call light?" The Minnesota Nurses Association had recommended that the 1,320 nurses who work for the three hospitals in Duluth reject the contract.