The Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA), which represents about 12,000 nurses throughout the metro area, said members “overwhelmingly” ratified the contract, which grants nurses a three percent pay raise over three years and leaves intact their pension and health benefits.
However, the union, which didn’t release an official vote tally, failed to win its key demand: set nurse to patient staffing ratios. Nevertheless, the MNA said it will continue to fight for mandatory staffing levels that it says would protect patient safety.
“It’s true that we didn’t get the perfect settlement when it came to having specific language written into our contract regarding nurse-to-patient ratios,” MNA negotiator Cindy Olson said in a a statement . “But we’ve been fighting this fight for safe staffing since the early 1990s. And the efforts of our nurses the past three months have not been in vain. This was not an all-or-nothing situation. The battle for safe staffing didn’t end with this contract agreement. In many ways, it’s only just beginning.”
The union said it plans a “multi-faceted Safe Staffing Campaign” over the next few weeks.
The hospitals, including Park Nicollet, North Memorial, Children’s Hospital, Fairview, HealthEast, and Allina, pledged to work with the nurses as both groups adjust to broader forces reshaping the country’s healthcare sytem.
“We recognize and appreciate the hard work invested by everyone involved in the negotiations,” the hospitals said in a joint statement. “The hard work is not complete. Our hospitals are in the midst of transformational change in health care that presents us with ongoing challenges and opportunities, including health reform from the federal and state governments, an aging population, demands for innovation, developments in medical technology, and many other issues.”
“Twin Cities Hospitals are committed to working with our nurses to address these challenges in a way that maintains our nation-leading quality of care and provides a sustainable model of care for our patients and the community.”