Statement from the Minnesota Nurses Association:
Despite MNA nurses significantly modifying their staffing and wage proposals, there was little progress made in today’s negotiations with the Twin Cities Hospitals. In regards to staffing, MNA removed several components of our proposal that the hospitals felt were too rigid, while at the same time maintaining a maximum patient assignment for each nurse based on the individual needs and acuity (how sick a particular patient is) of each patient assigned to a particular nurse.
MNA also lowered its wage proposal to 3 percent for each year of the contract, which is the same as the 3 percent raise Regions Hospital gave its nurses earlier this month. The employers responded with the same 0-1-2 wage proposals they have offered previously.
Many of the employers’ concessions and take backs remain on the table. During today’s session, the employers said their solution to the unsafe staffing issue – which Twin Cities nurses have been trying to address since the early 1990s – would be to create a MNA-Twin Cities Hospital “task force” to study the problem. This same “task force” concept was tried last year at the request of the legislature, failed miserably and was consequently disbanded.
Despite the hospitals’ claim in a press statement (that was released as bargaining was still going on) that the proposed decrease in pension contributions was off the table, the fact is that it is contingent on a number of things: MNA nurses must accept all the take backs and concessions the hospitals are proposing, none of which address patient safety or staffing issues. The MNA membership must approve a contract with these concessions. The nurses must pull their 10-day strike notice. Only if all those things happen will the employers make a “recommendation” to their pension bargaining team to keep the nurses’ pension as is.
The MNA bargaining teams felt that this proposal was unacceptable and rejected it but requested a return to the table on Wednesday. In fact, our nurses remain committed to meeting anytime, anywhere before July 6th in hopes we can reach a contract agreement and avoid a strike.