Hospitals

Minnesota nurses authorize strike at Fairview Range Regional Health Services

Nurses at Range Regional Health Service, an affiliate of  Fairview Health Services, voted to authorize a strike late Friday, according to the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA). Fairview Range is a family of medical providers based in Hibbing and includes Fairview University Medical Center-Mesabi, Fairview Mesaba Clinic (with locations in Hibbing, Nashwauk and Mountain Iron) and […]

Nurses at Range Regional Health Service, an affiliate of  Fairview Health Services, voted to authorize a strike late Friday, according to the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA).

Fairview Range is a family of medical providers based in Hibbing and includes Fairview University Medical Center-Mesabi, Fairview Mesaba Clinic (with locations in Hibbing, Nashwauk and Mountain Iron) and Fairview HealthLine, a home care, hospice and medical supply provider. The strike vote only affects the hospital, Fairview University Medical Center-Mesabi, said Mitch Vincent, the hospital’s head of human services.

More than 150 Minnesota nurses had been working without a contract since September 2010 when negotiations broke down leading to the strike vote. By this action, the nurses can strike at any time, although under federal law they are required to provide at least 10 days of advance notice to hospitals.

“For nearly nine months, hospital executives have turned a deaf ear toward our concerns about staffing levels and the safety of our patients,” said April Klander, RN, chair of the MNA’s bargaining team at RRHS, in a statement. “They have forced us into this situation and our nurses have responded loud and clear: We’re willing to strike for our patients and our profession.”

On Monday, Vincent countered that the latest proposal was reasonable, market competitive and fair.

“Obviously we are disappointed that they felt this was necessary,” he said. “In our latest (proposal), we had a joint committee similar to what is there in Minneapolis and Duluth, where the nurses would have input in making decisions.”

He added that the wage offers were also fair.