Minnesota Nurses Union Urges Members to Reject Contract Offer

John Commins, August 17, 2010

After months of bargaining with no agreement, the Minnesota Nurses Association has asked more than 900 members to turn out Wednesday to reject a contract offer from SMDC Medical Center in Duluth, and vote for a one-day walkout instead.

A key sticking point appears to be nurse staffing ratios.

"The bottom line is, the executives at the bargaining table have made it clear to us that management does not trust its nurses with the well-being and safety of our patients," said Steve Strand, an RN at SMDC. "It's ironic considering nurses are the most trusted professionals in the United States. And we are not asking for anything costly, outrageous or unusual."

Thomas Patnoe, MD, president of SMDC Health System, issued a brief statement in response to the MNA comments: "We feel we have bargained in good faith and have proposed a very good offer, which reflects our commitment to our nurses, to safe care and to the patients and families we serve. My sincere hope is that we will ultimately reach a respectful resolution and avoid a strike."


John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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