Nursing strike in Twin Cities, Duluth reaches final day, then what?
Union will assess whether walkout and high-visibility pickets built public support and weakened hospital resolve over staffing, pay
September 15, 2022
A historically large nursing strike finished with its final full day of picketing Wednesday. Whether it reshaped testy contract negotiations with Twin Cities and Duluth hospitals over pay and staffing remains to be seen.
Hospital nurses used the spotlight of the work stoppage to plead for increased staffing and solutions to a nursing shortage that jeopardizes patients. Jeff Bluem brought his squirmy 11-year-month old daughter to the picket line outside Southdale Hospital in Edina, then lamented the quality time he misses with her when he is pulled last-minute into understaffed nursing shifts.
Hospitals are taking advantage by staffing at minimum levels and trusting that nurses will feel obliged to help at a moment's notice, said Bluem, who works in a neurological unit at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park. "We have older patients. A lot of them have dementia. A lot of them have higher falls risks because of their strokes. Leaving nurses short-staffed is going to be unsafe for these patients."