Rice County nurses say yes to new contract

29 Sep Rice County nurses

MNA members who work for Rice County Public Health in Faribault will see a wage increase and higher health insurance contributions from the county, thanks to a newly ratified contract.

MNA members voted yes for their new two-year contract on Sept. 19.

It includes a retroactive 2.5 percent pay increase for 2014 and a 2.75 percent raise in 2015.

“The nurses of Rice County have learned a lot through this process about the need for solidarity in the county,” said Negotiating Team member Amber Hauer.” We sent a clear message to the county negotiators that we deserve a contract  without regressive  terms.”

The bargaining unit gained two new members on the day of the vote.

One of them, Tracy Ackerman-Shaw, is a new employee. She said she was eager to join MNA.

“I knew the good MNA does for the members,” she said. “I believe MNA has the best interests of members in mind. They do a fantastic job negotiating the contract.”



Video: Help Nurses Elect Candidates Who Help Nurses

16 Sep IMG_0298



Join other dedicated members of the Minnesota Nurses Association who are supporting MNA endorsed candidates.  Go to http://www.mnnurses.org/policy-and-advocacy/election-2014-volunteer-opportunities
OR call Eileen Gavin at 651-414-2871.


Deer River nurses kick off negotiations

9 Sep contraband cake Sep 4

Nurses at Essentia Health in Deer River are calling it their ‘contraband cake.’

MNA members kicked off negotiations by serving a cake decorated with the MNA logo to passers-by in an area near the hospital lobby – until they were asked to leave.

contraband cake Sep 4contraband cake 2 sep 4

Hospital administrators not only asked members to move, they canceled the next day’s negotiating session.

Talks are now set for today (Sept. 9).

This is the first contract since Essentia took over the hospital. Nurses say they’re ready to stand up for a contract that shows Essentia is dedicated to supporting the Deer River community and quality nurses who want to work at the hospital and make the area their home.

State nurses’ contract approved

25 Aug State team

MNA members employed by the State of Minnesota have a new contract.

The Legislature’s Subcommittee on Employee Relations approved the agreement on August 21.

State team
Negotiating team members (front row, left to right): Karen Leathert, Tammy Hughes, Imo Kalla. Back row, left to right: Brent Griffith, Teresa Koenen, Ann Mehltretter

“This is a fair contract that recognizes the top quality of care that nurses provide for patients throughout the state – including mental health, corrections, Department of Health,  and veterans’ facilities,” said Bargaining Unit Co-Chair Tammy Hughes.

“Thanks to Senators James Metzen and Chris Eaton, along with Representative Leon  Lillie, who spoke in support of the contract and the importance of state-employed nurses during subcommittee discussions before the vote,” said MNA Bargaining Agent Lonna-Jean Schmidt Nelson.

The new contract calls for 6.0 percent wage increases over the two-year contract for the 760 registered nurses, most of whom work in Human Services, Corrections, Health, and Veterans’  Homes.


New contracts improve staffing, wages, benefits

25 Aug International Falls negotiating team

From the far north to the far southwest of Minnesota, MNA nurses are winning new contracts that improve staffing, wages, and benefits. Nurses reached out and received community support in their communities to show employers that citizens support nurses.

Nurses at Rainy Lake Medical Center in International Falls, Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming,  Sanford Worthington Medical Center, and Fairview Range Regional Health Services in Hibbing have all voted to ratify new contracts in the last month.

International Falls. It took nearly a year of standing strong for a fair contract that protects safe patient care, but Rainy Lake Medical Center nurses approved a tentative agreement and have a new contract this month.

negotiators after ratify

“The community’s support was key for reaching a fair contract and was greatly appreciated,” said Bargaining Unit Co-Chair Wendy Sutch. “The signs posted in businesses, homes, and car windows throughout the community show the public understands the important role that nurses play in patient care and safety.”

The new contract includes a 5.5 percent wage increase over the three-year contract.

Fairview Lakes. Nurses at Fairview Lakes Medical Center in  Wyoming, MN, were less than a week away from informational picketing when they reached a tentative agreement with management.

tina thompson Dianne Faith

“We achieved a good contract because members stood together,” said Bargaining Unit Co-Chair Sue Kreitz.

“Signs in local businesses, stickers, a giant ‘sympathy card’ for management, a video showing the unequal treatment of clinic nurses, and an imminent informational picket sent a clear message we were standing up for a fair contract that benefits staff, patients, and our community,” said Bargaining Unit Co-Chair Sandie Anderson.

The new contract makes progress toward addressing scheduling concerns, provides for required reviews of staffing levels and guidelines, and maintains hard-fought-for benefits, all of which will enable the hospital and clinic to attract and retain nurses.

Sanford Worthington. Community support was essential in securing a new three-year contract in Worthington.

“Worthington area residents showed they value nurses and the important role we play in the community by displaying ‘We Support Our Nurses’ signs in their yards and businesses, and voicing support and appreciation wherever they could,” said Bargaining Unit Co-Chair Nancy Ihrke.

theanne and brittany schitl

“We stood up for a fair contract that attracts and retains quality nurses,” said Bargaining Unit Co-Chair Monica McCoy.

The new contract includes a 5.5 percent wage increase over the three-year contract and members retained all benefits.

Hibbing. Fairview Range nurses won 4.5 percent raises over the three-year contract in the wage-only negotiations.

“Members agreed to discuss wages in these negotiations so we could work for the next three years on improving safe staffing,” said Negotiating Team member Jon  Wesley.

Help elect candidates who support nurses

22 Aug leadership compass

leadership compass

Minnesota’s party primaries are over, and the November 4 general election slate of candidates is set.  It’s now time to make sure that candidates who share nurses’ values are elected.

If we hope to make progress toward staffing legislation that will keep patients safe, nurses need to help make sure voters to go the polls and elect candidates who will advocate for nursing, our patients, and our communities.

Nurses are the most trusted profession in the United States and the best messenger to let voters know about the candidates who will be on the side of working families.

You can join other nurses and make phone calls, talk to your neighbors and friends, and go to candidate events.

There are opportunities in every part of the state to help elect candidates who will stand with nurses.

Saturday, August 23, 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., Hopkins

Rep. Yvonne Selcer (48A) canvassing
Coordinated DFL office, 915 Main St., Hopkins


Tuesday, August 26, 5-8 p.m.
Phonebanking at MNA office
345 Randolph Ave, Suite 200, St. Paul

Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 5-8 p.m.
Phonebanking at MNA office
345 Randolph Ave, Suite 200, St. Paul

Thursday, September 4,  4:30-8:30 p.m.
2014 Labor Day of Action
Door knocking and phone banking for pro-labor candidates at locations around Minnesota.

MNA’s website is updated frequently with new opportunities to volunteer throughout Minnesota.

You can sign up for activities on the Member Portal on MNA’s website.


Appleton Press columnist says ‘nurses have it right’ on Robin Hood tax.

12 Aug




Standing up for safe patient care just got easier

8 Aug css form

css form

It’s now much easier for Minnesota nurses to stand up for safe patient care.

Now when nurses submit Concern for Safe Staffing forms that document unsafe conditions in their facilities, they can also contact their legislators to let them know that unsafe staffing situations are occurring in their districts.

State senators and representatives have asked for more documentation to help them establish a safe patient standard in Minnesota hospitals.

In the past, CFSS forms have had to be culled, collected, and printed out to submit to legislative committees or for lawmaker requests.  MNA recently modified the form to make it easier for nurses to tell their legislators real-time stories about unsafe staffing in their hospitals.

The revised form adds one simple step. After nurses complete a Concern for Safe Staffing form, they will receive a confirmation message with a link to a short pre-written email to their legislators to which they can add their own comments. The MNA website will automatically look up the nurses’ legislators and deliver the messages to them.

Some legislators have questioned whether staffing is a problem in Minnesota hospitals. When nurses show the forms to state legislators as examples of the unsafe conditions in hospitals in their districts, lawmakers are always surprised and concerned to learn hospitals put patients at risk on a regular basis.

The new option to contact legislators will increase the impact of CFSS forms by alerting lawmakers to the frequency and severity of these unsafe situations, and will further our campaign to pass a Safe Patient Standard law.

MNA members are encouraged to fill out CFSS forms any time they see unsafe staffing, and if you live in Minnesota, send the follow-up message to your legislators.

Primary Election August 12-MNA Supports Rebecca Otto for Auditor

6 Aug

Minnesota’s primary election is Tuesday, August 12. You have a chance to return one of the most accomplished state auditors in the country to her post.

Rebecca Otto

MNA endorses Rebecca Otto for State Auditor

MNA has endorsed Rebecca Otto for State Auditor. Otto has carefully served as a watchdog for local governments, including her role in reviewing almost 700 public pension plans, and promoting legal compliance and accountability.

Rebecca Otto (DFL) is one of the most highly-respected state auditors in the United States. In 2014 she was named one of the Most Influential Professionals in Government Auditing by the American Center for Government Auditing (ACGA). She has also received the National Auditors Association Excellence in Accountability Award for Best Practices Review: Reducing Energy Costs in Local Government. In 2011 she received the League of Minnesota Cities President’s Award.

Rebecca Otto has done an outstanding job for the citizens of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Nurses Association is proud to support her.

Find your polling place.

Not registered? You can register at the polls!


Sign up for the Minnesota State Fair!

5 Aug fair5

Join MNA nurses by speaking up for your profession and a minimum standard of care at the 2014 Minnesota State Fair.  Go to www.mnnurses.org to sign up.  Volunteer shifts are filling up fast!


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