June 29 Bargaining Update

30 Jun

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.

188 Responses to “June 29 Bargaining Update”

  1. Confused June 30, 2010 at 3:03 am #

    OMG! What happened today, I can’t sleep.

  2. AFGE Local 1216 June 30, 2010 at 5:30 am #

    Disgusting but not surprising. TCH has no respect for the Nurses, the Union, or the Public we serve.
    History will judge them harshly long after this is over.
    God is not as forgiving as public opinion.

    • Allina Nurse June 30, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

      actually God is forgiving, but they got to want his forgivenes :)

  3. UTD-RN June 30, 2010 at 5:34 am #

    A) Why don’t we just accept the 0-1-2 and get on with it?
    B) Pensions or Staffing… it seems we need to pick our battle here, why don’t we drop the Pension thing and focus on staffing if we’re really in this for the patients?

    • MH-RN June 30, 2010 at 5:58 am #

      I completely agree! I thought the 0-1-2 thing was already agreed upon?

      Meant to put this comment here!

    • Ann June 30, 2010 at 6:11 am #

      Answer B: Some people have remained and worked their job due to the Pension benefit…Let’s make sure they get to keep that.

      YES, there is an economic factor here…everyone DESERVES to be compensated fairly and well, even “angels” like nurses. But we’re not angels, we’re human beings who need a paycheck/benefits/job security to support our families.

      As far as “dropping” things, TCH have never had so many proposals/CONCESSIONS as in 2010. And we’re supposed to just be grateful when they drop a few. COME ON! 3 things we want: Staffing for patient safety, and Pension and Benefits for us. We should get to take something home with us at the end of a day besides just a “warm, fuzzy”.

    • united RN June 30, 2010 at 6:48 am #

      agree!! It does sound like finally both sides are talking, giving and taking, even if just a little! I’m encouraged by this!!

    • "Picket" is my middle name June 30, 2010 at 7:09 am #

      If you recall, we voted to authorize a strike regarding our current contract, not our pension…yet.

    • Brian June 30, 2010 at 11:24 am #

      I understand your thoughts on the raise, but seriously….why not? I’ve worked where they got no raises while the boss drives around in a BMW or Audi…brand new mind you. If they are still making s profit; give us a raise. In three yearsfof their losing their shirts then I would be more willing to say I would accept that.

    • Margo June 30, 2010 at 11:38 am #

      Yes, please accept this offer. Don’t understand why we should get 3% when EVERYONE else has had to take cuts, and honestly, relying on your pension in today’s economic times is plain foolish. We were advised 30 years ago to make our own plan for retirement, and not count on pensions that may or may not be there.

    • HeidiRN June 30, 2010 at 2:57 pm #

      The nurses on our unit have made it clear, we’re OK with no raise this year. The staffing piece is our main focus. Please MNA reps, let the wage proposal go. Keep staffing safe! That should be the only issue.

      • Opie June 30, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

        This is exactly what TCH is trying to accomplish – break us apart into little self-interest groups – we chose to empower our reps to bargain on all of our behalves – we have power only when we stick together and value everyone’s needs as much as our own – we cannot decide unilaterally what we consider the single most important issue.

      • HeidiRN June 30, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

        Opie, I am not alone, read on.

      • united RN June 30, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

        I don’t recall being able to choose NNU–I believe that decision was made by a “chosen few” C’mon NNU–negotiate, no strike

    • dotty June 30, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

      Easy for you to say just get on with and accept the 0-1-2. For me, this strike is not about a wage increase. I do not mind foregoing a raise this year if needed although I expect our CEO will get his. However, I’m in that select group of nurses who have worked their butts off for enough years that we no longer get the yearly step raises that some of the other staff receive. You probably will get a raise this year–your step raise–even if you vote for 0 for this year. Not to mention that TCH wants to do away with the longevity bonus which I would finally qualify for in January. Longevity doesn’t seem to mean a lot unless it is tied to some award for the hospital. Do not be so eager to “get on with it”. This is exactly what TCH is hoping, and they probaby will bring this thing down to the wire to see what really is important to us as a profession. Patients should be first and foremost.

    • Erik June 30, 2010 at 6:31 pm #

      Good point. I’d be a lot more willing to change my perception of the union and this conflict if this was truely about safe staffing. As is, what is the justification of demanding 9%/3years? It might not be ideal, but the rest of us weathered wage increase freezes in recent times.
      The pension is a gray area for me. If you’ve been promised that money, then that should be honored. Having retirement money slashed especially at the last years in your career is frustrating and frightening. Perhaps a reasonable alternative would be to stop offering new pensions. It would suck to new nurses, but, then again, i dont get a pension and neither does the majority of the US work force. Welcome to the modern times, I guess. Wages aside, i think those issues bring down overall public support for the MNA cause. I wonder if things would be different if the sole and only issue would be centered around ratios? Nurses do wonderful things and are wonderful people, but since MN nurses are among the most well compensated in the country, it doesnt look good to the public. I have a difficult time accepting that this is just about patient saftey.

      To understand better, I would appreciate a point for point contract negotiation timelines. Then we could look at what has happened, who proposed what, and we could clearly see who is working for a common goal, and common good. There has been a suprising lack of transperancy with this issue. Sometimes closed door meetings are neccessary, but in media coverage and blog postings, there is a suprising lack of substance to claims and arguments being made. Enough of this vague “we dropped points in our proposals, and TCH still said no.” Tell me what was originally offered, and what specifically was dropped. I want to see numbers, statistics, and data. I’ve been reading a lot of updates from TCH, and feel comfortable with what they are reporting at least.

      And for pete’s sake, lets drop the negativity. Asking questions doesnt mean i want all the union members fired. It means i want to understand the cause more clearly. I’ve been very dissapointed in some of the nurses here over the past weeks. there have been insults, accusations, and horrible demeanor and decorum to replacement workers. I feel it’s not fair to take your anger out on them. At the end of the day, they are still caring for patients, even if the quality is not what it usually is, it’s better then nothing. While it’s easy to point a finger at them, people are sick and dying, and we need a few extra hands while you fight under the banner of unfair labor practices, then isnt that a good thing? People being take care of AND a fight for improvements for the future. Isnt that win/win?

      Let us be civil. TCH may not be in your opinion, and that’s perhaps just the way it is. Maybe not, but two wrongs dont make a right, and nurses can still be respectful and classy.

      So stay classy nurses. Fight the fight that needs…well…fighting. There will be resolution eventually. how we stand up for the causes the mean the most to us, directly reflect the type of people we are. If we cast the first stones and sling mud over differing opinions, then what have we become.

      Help me to understand this more clearly, as a non-union nurse. If you show me the respect that I and others do try to show, you might have more then 12,000 nurses on your side.

      Solidarity can be a great thing, but make sure that when you are standing up for what you believe in, you’re doing so still as a professional and respsectful member of a great class of workers out there.

      Nurses. The guardians, protectors, frontline health care, and Angels that so many of us are. Union, or non.

      I’ve tried to participate and incite discussion as much as i possibly can. I’ve read, researched, and tried to improve my understanding as far as possible, but i’ve hit the wall. What stops me from going further is people assuming i’m PR trying to stir up negativity and that i will continue to work after 7/5.

      Good luck to you all. I dont want a strike, and i feel that you dont either, but we all do what we must. c’est la vie. Please dont rip others down for following the very same credo that I and others extend to you.

      I dont want anyone to lost their jobs, home, cars, or have to declare banktrupcy over this. That fate lies now with the NLRB and thier decision.

      For this, your crusade is now, and the victor is not certain at this time. However, i will continue to work, and twice as hard as i need to to make sure that our, yes our, patients dont get caught in a deadly crossfire.

      Post Hoc ergo Propter hoc.

      Peace out.

      • Bonnie June 30, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

        Erick, who the heck are you anyway? Sure aren’t an RN.

      • Erik June 30, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

        Bonnie, my name is devoid of a ‘c’. If you litterally mean I’m not an RN, I’m confused as my RN/PHN licenses from the Board of MN say otherwise, plus I have this piece of paper from an accreddited university. (cost an arm and leg, it did!) If you meant figuratively, then we’re in a new ball game. I’d rather not debate semantics over the philosophical definition of “what a nurse is” so i’ll just nod, smile, and say good day, Bonnie.

      • MercyRN July 1, 2010 at 3:09 am #

        I partially agree with some of the points made in these blogs, but (of course) not all of them. Please bear with me while a share a couple of thoughts.

        The Longevity Bonus — seems one of the easier points to drop — until you consider that this bonus was negotiated in an earlier contract in exchange for a step increase in wages. This bonus does NOT come from management as a “reward” for loyalty and long-term commitment; rather, all nurses have been paying for this bonus for senior nurses by earning less than they otherwise would have if there was no bonus. In essence, this does not really cost the employer, although they cut the check so it looks like it. Big difference.

        The pension — touchy subject for some. I, for one, would like to keep my pension; for the emotional and physical toll this job can sometimes cost me, I don’t feel too badly about wanting to retire comfortably. Teachers do (God bless them) and they don’t work weekends, holidays, nights, or sometimes, even summers. Policemen/women also have a nice pension plan, and frankly, they deserve it. These outstanding people help to take care of our communities. But don’t nurses also help to take care of their communities? Why should nurses be left to fend for themselves at retirement? You spend your adult career taking care of others and then you’re sent to live in a cardboard box? How is that morally acceptable? Our current pension plan pays LESS than what a teacher or a police officer earns from their pension plans. Furthermore, the current pension plan, as it stands now, costs LESS than 2% of the budget — even cutting it by a third won’t be saving the administration a whole lot of money. Let’s keep the pension plan, please.

        Wages — seems to me a lot of people accept the 0-1-2 proposal. The MNA reps need to hear that. They seem to be afraid to give on one thing, for fear that it would lead to giving in on others. This is a slippery slope argument that has no basis. Please tell your reps to seriously consider the wage proposal IN EXCHANGE for a safe staffing proposal. By accepting this, we can further our cause by truly showing the strike is about unsafe staffing, and NOT about wages. The employers would have one less leg to stand on, particularly in the media.

        Health insurance — if you never need to use it, the employers’ plan actually looks better. God help you if you break a leg, contract a horrible infection, get run over by a snowmobile — in other words, if life happens, and you actually need to access your healthcare, be prepared to pay out LARGE quantities of money. You will be responsible for up to 30% of your medical bill — not including, of course, the deductible you will be required to pay up front. We have (and pay for) a good insurance plan — let’s keep it. I would negotiate by not requiring the employer to pay more than they already do now; just keep it status quo.

        Safe staffing — I don’t think I need to argue for this one. We know we need to do this; the timing might not be great (is there a good time?) but we need this — for our patients, and for ourselves. We don’t need a “task force,” as they would conclude what several studies have already shown: appropriate nurse-patient ratios lead to lower mortality rates, lower readmission rates, shorter lengths of stay, fewer nosocomial infections, etc, etc. Medicare no longer reimburses hospitals for some nosocomial infections and hospital-aquired pressure ulcers; with inadequate staff, these cases will only increase, actually costing the hospitals more money. Not only that, but appropriate ratios also lead to less nurse burnout and employee turnover, which I would think the administration would support as it costs a substantial amount of money to train new nurses.

        Floating — we need people who will float, but we also need people who stay on their units and know the routines inside and out. For the people who float, maybe they can earn some extra vacation time? A financial incentive? A paid weekend off after X number of shifts floated? Senior nurses don’t float? For those who don’t float, these are the people the others can use as resources — and they are just as necessary as the floaters. To run a hospital with the volatile census numbers we’ve seen, I firmly believe you need BOTH kinds of nurses.

        Respect — very important for all of us. I respect the fact that the administration has to tighten its spending to stay afloat; I’ve had to do the same in my own house. But WE ALL PAY. You cannot give a raise to one group of people (the CEOs are an obvious example; the paramedics — I love those guys! –also recently signed a contract with yearly raises) and expect others to just lie down like door mats and sigh, “Ok, I’m happy to have a job.” The belt-tightening should be felt across the board, MANAGEMENT AND LEADERS INCLUDED.

        It seems to me that executives get paid based on, in part, how hard they can get others to do the work for them. ENOUGH. Lives are at risk. We nurses are on the front lines (with several others!); we are telling them what they probably already know, but do not want to pay for. Do we really need (or want) to get legislation involved to keep people safe? Respect me enough to listen to me, listen to my ideas, and respond. I will respect you enough to work very, very hard to provide competent care, stay current in my field, and to offer excellent customer service — after all, if the patient is happy, then they will likely return again for service. That is not possible without appropriate nurse-patient ratios. And that, in a nutshell, is what we really need to include in this contract.

        To very basically summarize, I need to know that, with this contract, I can continue to provide for BOTH my patients AND my family. The current take-take-take proposal offered by the employers is insufficient and, in all honesty, demeaning. I ask myself, can I really afford to strike? But then I ask myself, can I really afford not to?

  4. Britaney June 30, 2010 at 5:37 am #

    It is not clear for me. I hope there will be clarification at tomorrow nurse’s meeting.

  5. Brian June 30, 2010 at 5:37 am #

    Stand Strong. No caving. If this is truly about patients then we keep standing. Furthermore, we ALREADY said no to that stupid contract. A task force is CRAP just another go nowhere meeting.

  6. Zach June 30, 2010 at 5:45 am #

    I’m all for the nurses, but they should give a bit on the pension in my opinion. As an employer I wouldn’t wanna pay out a pension, especially one of that degree.

    But hopefully the hospitals stop being lame about the staffing proposal.

  7. RN RED June 30, 2010 at 5:51 am #

    I agree, take the 0-1-2% and give them that! Let’s show them we want to focus on the safe staffing!

  8. Jean June 30, 2010 at 5:52 am #

    I agree – lets pick our battle and accept the 0-1-2 on wages.

  9. JC June 30, 2010 at 5:53 am #

    We have clearly said no with our vote. The next task force for patient safety is July 6th@7am, location: streetside.
    Beware of the paid persuaders (UNION BUSTING 101)who are likely to be abundant in the next few days. We stand strong in solidarity! Membership driven MNA!

  10. Allina RN June 30, 2010 at 5:53 am #

    By coincidence, someone sent me this joke today via email. I’ve changed a couple details to fit the situation at hand. It’s a funny little story. It would be even funnier if it weren’t true…

    The kids filed back into class Monday morning. They were very excited. Their weekend assignment was to sell something, then give a talk on productive salesmanship.

    Little Sally led off: “I sold Girl Scout cookies and I made $30,” she said proudly, “My sales approach was to appeal to the customer’s civic spirit and I credit that approach for my obvious success.”

    “Very good,” said the teacher.

    Little Susie was next: “I sold magazines,” she said, “I made $45 and I explained to everyone that magazines would keep them up on current events.”

    “Very good, Susie,” said the teacher.

    Eventually, it was Little Kenny’s turn. Little Kenny walked to the front of the classroom and dumped a box full of cash on the teacher’s desk. “$2,467,” he said.

    “$2,467!” cried the teacher, “What in the world were you selling?”

    “Toothbrushes,” said Little Kenny.

    “Toothbrushes,” echoed the teacher, “How could you possibly sell enough toothbrushes to make that much money?”

    “I found the busiest corner in town,” said Little Kenny, “I set up a Chip & Dip stand and I gave everybody who walked by a free sample. All the people said the same thing, “Hey, this tastes like dog sh@#!” Then I would say, “It IS dog sh@#. Wanna buy a toothbrush?”

    “I used the TCH’s approach of giving you something shi@#y that they say is good, and then making you pay to get the shi@#y taste out of your mouth.”

    The teacher was speechless. . . . . . . .

    • Ann June 30, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

      THANK YOU for the illustration…it is so TRUE!

      • Bonnie June 30, 2010 at 8:25 pm #

        Hilarious!!! And true! And especially since TCH are the experts in dishing out the dog shi@#$%!!!!!!

  11. Laurie June 30, 2010 at 5:54 am #

    Thank you MNA Reps for your time and patience in bargaining on my behalf. It ‘s obvious the TCH doesn’t value it’s nurses as much as they say they do. I realize that our wage is a bargaining tool, the main issues remain staffing, pension and all the take backs. I say no deal!!

  12. RN TWIN CITIES June 30, 2010 at 5:56 am #

    They expect the nurses to CAVE. Seriously don’t give in!

  13. KAP June 30, 2010 at 5:59 am #

    The Co-chair where I work just told me last week that she anticipated some sort of offer- however there would be a lot of “IF’S” with it.

  14. Ruth Welter June 30, 2010 at 6:02 am #

    i am a MNA RN. I think we are proposing and expecting to much in this economy. We need to lower our wage increases. Most people have not an d are not getting salary increases. Staffing levels need to be based on acuity. Staffing all shifts equal is not feasable on some units.

    • Opie June 30, 2010 at 4:47 pm #

      Ditto what I said above – don’t fall for TCH game-playing – we each may have one or 2 issues that seem critical to us, less so to others, but we will lose ALL of them if we don’t stand together and trust MNA reps to speak for all of us – our strength is in our solidarity!

    • United RN June 30, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

      You said it!!! More nurses aren’t going to make a difference. What I need is more support from ancillary staff. Give me patients to care for based on the acuity not a number. I don’t care about a raise this year, I know people still looking for jobs and as far as a pension, I’d rather be able to invest my money in a 401K.

    • Michele June 30, 2010 at 6:52 pm #

      Then why are the CEO’s taking huge raises for themselves this year?!

  15. mary lee rn June 30, 2010 at 6:10 am #

    I hope some concessions are made on the staffing issues. When will we know what those are? In reviewing the May 11 doc on line I really think somethings need to be pulled off. I really don’t want to be making decions about my unit closing or not. I nurse not manage staffing.

    • JC July 1, 2010 at 1:14 am #

      The charge nurse needs to maintain a safe environment for the patients according to the nurse practice act of Mn, thus the closure language if the hospital cannot staff appropriately

  16. Bitania June 30, 2010 at 6:34 am #

    It sounds you haven’t reached a better contract agreement. If so, we have to stick to our vote… strike.

  17. Tom June 30, 2010 at 7:18 am #

    The hospitals took away the stripping of pensions and they want to collaborate on the staffing issue which should go unit to unit as they all varie, work on on call when staffing needs are great, etc. The wage thing will be 4.5 per year and I think that is high being you get 1.5 each already. 3% per year would be fine w/o the 1.5 on top of that. Just like Regions… You all had better work with the hospitals on the staffing issues and come up with an agreement to work from unit to unit and have a sign up for on call when there are needs for hi acuity or high census over 14 pts.
    I am for you guys but do not push yourselves over the cliff. You all work with the hospitals on legal documents to make sure you do collaborate/plan the staffing needs.

    • JC July 1, 2010 at 12:03 am #

      Tom, that legal document is called an acceptable contract…Task forces are a delay tactic

  18. Maureen June 30, 2010 at 7:25 am #

    I really feel that both the safe staffing proposal and the pension are issues to continue to fight for. I am an MNA Metro hospital, but my contract expires in one year. Please stand strong and tall, as the results of these negotiations will have reverberations for those of us who will negotiate in one year.

    In Solidarity,

    Another Metro RN

  19. Jenn June 30, 2010 at 7:32 am #

    DROP THE PAY RAISE FOR GOD’S SAKE!!! Highly consider dropping the pension. If we’re going to say we’re striking for staffing and patients, these should be dropped by the Union. Couldn’t agree with you more UTD-RN.

    • JC July 1, 2010 at 4:18 am #

      Trust the negotiating team of elected bargaining team members, they will use the power of our vote wisely, and DO NOT respond to the fear tactics you are reading in e-mails and the media. If Regions got 3% there is no reason for us to take nothing….stand strong and ready to walk if that is what it takes to get an acceptable contract! In SOLIDARITY!!!! I have trusted MNA for 30 years and will not stop now. MNA has never lied to me…ever…PERIOD.
      MNA is membership driven, your voice, your vote, your bargaining team knows what the priorities are. Stand behind your vote and trust our excellent team who is representing us! Thank you, bargaining team..YOU ROCK!!!

  20. Laura June 30, 2010 at 8:40 am #

    I would agree to no more than a 15% cut in the pension, the hospital proprosed wage increase schedule, BUT the staffing issue needs to be addressed!!! I learned last week that Mayo uses a computer program based on patient acuity to staff units not heads in beds. Perhaps that is an option.

  21. Alison June 30, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    Sounds like a delay technique to me on the hospitals’ part. I will be interested in hearing what they have to say today. If they are really interested in negotiating they will return to the table TODAY. UTD RN -We do not control what proposals they put on the table, but remember how hard nurses fought for the benefits you now enjoy. Do not be so fast to throw away 50 years of hard won benefits. Nurses in the past gave up raised to get the pension benefits, now you want to just give in. The Task force is just nonsense to keep them from having to actually address the staffing issues.

  22. Alison June 30, 2010 at 9:05 am #

    sorry I meant gave up raises to get pension benefits.- (no raised)

  23. TJ June 30, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    LET US VOTE!

    • Allina RN June 30, 2010 at 3:30 pm #

      We already did- May 19th. We said NO. There’s nothing on the table yet worthy of voting on again. TCH is just jerking us around.

      They removed some of their proposals? Big whoop. Instead of a mountain of garbage on the table, they’ve changed it to be a smaller mountain of garbage. (See “joke” in earlier post above).

      NO WAY.

      • TJ June 30, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

        No, we voted on only striking if no good faith negotiating was happening. Not for this.

  24. Rui June 30, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    UTD
    Really, you want to give up pension, wages. Lets give them our insurance as well. I got a better idea, why don’t we pay TCH for the priviledge of working in MN. How many nurses so you thing will be around if we concede all the take back with a 750 million dollar TCH year profit.

    • JC July 1, 2010 at 4:23 am #

      Rui; backing you 110%

  25. Jenny June 30, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    I have been at Allina for 20 years, and under the MNA contract for 22 years. The public may be with us on the patient safety issues, but little else. We should agree to focus only on the patient safety if we are really serious about it. We should also be open to exploring alternative ways besides strict ratios – that bird has flown, folks, and it ‘ain’t gonna happen. Let’s look at other possibilities – we’re nurses, for heaven’s sake – we are supposed to be good at dealing with the situation we have, not the situation we wish we had!
    Unfortunately I’m now going to be raked over the coals for daring to express a different opinion than the “correct” one. The anger and hatred out there is astonishing – and the reason I will never give my real name. I would be scared for my safety and the safety of my family. I know I am not the only one.

    • HeidiRN June 30, 2010 at 3:30 pm #

      Jenny, thank you for speaking up. I have been berated and insulted on these issues for the last week. Many RNs feel this way, but don’t bother speaking out. I won’t strike over $$$$$, but staffing is another matter. Lets focus on this alone.

      • eric June 30, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

        You have to remember that bargaining is like poker you have to have chips on the table to play. If we give up almost all of our chips then our chances of winning is severly diminished. The wages proposal is like a chip to used when we need it. Please be patient with the process.
        Stay strong, stay united, and stay informed.
        In Solidarity

      • Opie June 30, 2010 at 4:56 pm #

        This is not a multiple choice test – no-one will win if we can’t trust our MNA reps to negotiate on our behalves. At least go to the MNA mtgs today – hear the facts – “negotiating” among ourselves here wastes our energy and results in people misunderstanding the actual issues and how they work together. No-one needs to be insulted – we can speak civilly among ourselves – but we all need to know the big picture, so be sure to attend today’s mtg. I promise, it’s worth it. Decisions made without all the facts may end up being regretted for years to come.

    • jillRN July 1, 2010 at 1:32 am #

      Thanks Jean for sharing this. I also spoke up at work and because my opinion wasn’t ‘correct’ I was approached by a nurse that does not even work on my unit and accused of being anti-MNA. Which I am not, just because I don’t agree with all of their proposals doesn’t mean that I am anti-MNA. I am for our patients and our profession. I was truly disappointed by the actions she took. Know that you are not alone out there feeling that your personal safety is at risk if you don’t agree 100% with MNA. Disappointing.

  26. JMFRN81 June 30, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    I agree with UTD-RN’s comment above. This really is not about the money, I do understand that this does need to be addressed as we are trying to ratify a contract. But the TCH’s proposal of 0,1, and 2 does not sound that bad to me given the economic times. But, the patient’s and staffing mean much more to me. I really, really hope that we and the TCH come to an agreement soon…

  27. HE RN June 30, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    Take the 0-1-2 raise in exchange for our pension. There is probably not one nurse that wouldn’t agree with that. Stick with our staffing/acuity ratios, but we are going to have to give something else up, how about 3 mandatory cancels across the board?

    • Michael RN July 1, 2010 at 3:36 am #

      I couldn’t agree more with HE RN. I would gladly give-up any raise. We are well paid, especially in this economy. Let’s focus on having a voice when it comes to safe staffing. Let us also recognize that the financial challenges facing our hospitals and health care system are real and that the current system is not sustainable.

    • Susan M. Hiner July 1, 2010 at 4:32 am #

      Dear HE RN,
      I’m not willing to take back so much as one word from our current contract, which is still in affect until we approve a new contract. That includes our pension! As a Registered Nurses we all have collage degrees, I work with some RN’s who have master degrees. How many of your fellow collage buddies are making more than you do? When asking for a raise do they feel ashamed? We are professionals and I want to be treated as a professional!

  28. shelly June 30, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    The Strib is so biased in its reporting that I am switching to the PPress. Looks like I’ll be turning in my pager come Monday if the hospitals don’t meet with the NT team today.
    Stand together ->Advance Together.

    • Susan M. Hiner July 1, 2010 at 4:42 am #

      The Star Tribune has been anti-union for many years. My father worked for the Star Trib from 1954 to 1995, as a printer! During that time the company tried to break the union at least twice while I was growing up, and even though it left my family with little to live on, we made it! And the union was stronger as a result.

  29. Merciful RN June 30, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    So absolutely tired of it all. Staffing requests are ridiculous, you’ve gotta let up. we’ve already said it’s not financial so I don’t want to strike for the raises or the pension, so drop it. Somebody figure out how to lock in our insurance (even if it’s the new one) and how to get our 0.4 people guaranteed to be grandfathered in or offered a 0.5 and I’d be happy. This has to end.

    • Christy June 30, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

      This. Absolutely right on.

    • Susan M. Hiner July 1, 2010 at 4:55 am #

      I’ve noticed that most of the negative statements are coming from people who won’t use their names, just code words. Which tells me that these are not RN’s! We have to ask ourselves if they plants from the TCH?

  30. Beatrix K. June 30, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    A Texas Head Nurse at a hospital that already HAS the proposed MNA staffing:

    “We have had no–I repeat, no–cases of hospital-acquired pneumonia, central line infections, or UTIs in the past three quarters in our critical care units. ”
    “So. Given my own experience with what seem to be very reasonable demands on the part of the Minnesota nurses, I have to say: my primary opinion on this strike is that it was warranted. I support their demands. I support their right to strike. I hope like hell they get the staffing levels they want and need.”
    Her opinion piece is here:

    http://head-nurse.blogspot.com/2010/06/okay-im-finally-forming-opinion-on-mn.html

    • MNA RN June 30, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

      Dear Beatrix K:

      Thank you… again.
      I love your common sense approach.

      Hopefully, our MNA and the TCH will continue to negotiate. I remember one hospital waited right up until the night before the scheduled strike (they kept waiting for the nurses to surrender… and they waited and they waited) and then the hospital settled at the very last minute. I’m not waving a white flag (and never would) but my priority is for my patient’s safety and I would be willing to go lower on the pay raise scale (although the CEOs and managers would never even consider making personal sacrifices to their salaries and bonuses – (Big Business brains don’t operate that way) – (they don’t seem to care if their actions cause natural disasters like oil spills that desecrate our environment and endangered species, economic crashes-wall street and housing, the Coal minners that died directly relating to Big Business mentality… as long as they contine to turn their profit margin… it’s OK). Nurses safeguard and take actions that will ensure that the hospitals do what is imperative to preserving our patient’s safety. I will stand by and support my MNA representatives to institute measures that will help enforce that the hospitals ensure patient safety and not place the patient or the nurse in harms way. My shoes are ready if I need them.

      • MNA RN June 30, 2010 at 4:35 pm #

        To MNA:

        Just in case it hasn’t been said enough… I support you and appreciate all that you have done and continue to do. Help us to get this done. Continue to make our voices heard.

        Sincerly and in solidarity!
        MNA RN

  31. ANW-RN June 30, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    ACCEPT THE 0-1-2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MNA is loosing support from their nurses.

    • Bonnie June 30, 2010 at 8:30 pm #

      Thia entire site is full of whiners crying ACCEOPT THE 0-1-2! That you ninnies is the least of it!!!!! Go to the side by side offer for your hospital and see what it is you are crying to give up! Then get your big girl/boy pants on and grow up! They are out to screw you good, so stand up for your self and the patients you will have too many of and make them give a little!!!!!

    • Mary June 30, 2010 at 9:23 pm #

      Just a note…spelling and proof reading count, even on the internet.

    • Susan M. Hiner July 1, 2010 at 4:58 am #

      Here we go again, is this person a TCH plant?

  32. RN June 30, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    MNA needs to back off a little bit and start to act more reasonably. Don’t they understand that it is OUR lives they are messing with. Children’s Hospital proposed very reasonable changes to the contract in negotiations on the 29th. They have given up on their side, MNA needs to give on their side as well. This isn’t really about patient care, lets all be real here. I am even more convinced now that MNA is dead set on striking and only has the national agenda on their mind. It makes no sense to walk away from our patients if we’re all so concerned about their well being. We have it great at Children’s Hospital, we need to appreciate that and continue to do our job!

    • Opie June 30, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

      I really take issue with your opinion that Children’s mgmt made such an attractive offer last night – where are you getting your information?

    • Susan M. Hiner June 30, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

      Your right Opie, things are not all well at children’s. Any take backs are a loss for the nurses! And RN do you have to realize this isn’t just messing up our lives, it’s the lives of our MNA reps. also! Trust the MNA, don’t listen to the TCH or children’s, or the media for that matter. Their goal is to break the union!

    • Children's RN July 1, 2010 at 3:22 am #

      The reason we have it “good” at Children’s is BECAUSE of our contract!!! Mangement’s proposals are ALL still concessions! WAKE UP and see the LIES! I worked hard for my license and will do whatever I need to in order to keep it safe.

      • RN July 1, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

        I don’t know why everyone is so convinced that the hospitals are lying and MNA is telling the truth. It’s not like the hospitals are out to get us. Think about it logically. They are all in competition with each other, they need their employees to be happy and safe in order to keep their reputations high. The hospitals want safe patient care and good outcomes just as much as we all do. Children’s is among the highest ranking hospitals for patient outcomes. People come from all over to have their children cared for by us. Would it be that way if we had unsafe nursing patient ratios? Strict patient nurse ratios are not the answer, they are too expensive and will only cause problems. We all have to be open and flexible. I still stand that we have it great at Children’s. The hospital did make changes to their proposals despite what MNA might be saying. Everyone keeps talking about the precious pension, well they offered to make no changes to it. They offered to keep the longevity bonus in place. These are the issues people are really talking about in the work place. We at Children’s are all going to get screwed fighting for something we already have…safe and fabulous patient care!

  33. Jean June 30, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    Nurses are legally responsible for the care they deliver to their patients and should be included in the decision to whether they are able to safely provide that care.
    Nurses are also college educated professionals and deserve appropriate compensation in wages and benefits.
    We should continue to fight for what is right for our patients and our lively hoods.
    We have a lot to lose if we give up now.

    • Susan M. Hiner June 30, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

      Yes Yes Jean, well said!

    • Mary June 30, 2010 at 9:25 pm #

      Jean, I couldn’t agree more. Whether or not specific staffing limits are included in this new contract, we have to have the ability to limit the number of patients we care for because we are legally responsible. Are the hospitals really going to stand behind us if something awful happens? Especially if they would have to admit to unsafe staffing or unsafe policies? No Way!! Think about that folks.

  34. Lisa June 30, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    Wow that is just how the STrib reported it–NOT! Hang in there negotiators.

  35. Jean June 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    We are legally responsible to deliver safe care to our patients. We must have a voice in whether we can deliver that care. We are also college educated professionals and deserve compensation for providing that care. It is a great responsibility to have a person’s life in one’s hands. No one should have control of our practice and lively hoods except the nurse. The hospital has forgotten it’s purpose: safe patient care.

    • JC July 1, 2010 at 4:50 am #

      Thanks Jean…straight out of Mn Nurse Practice Act, the nurse is responsible to maintain SAFE ENVIRONMNENT for the patients and the public…TCH seems to have a huge disconnect with licensure laws and the community which it serves under the mission statements they proclaim to function by… In solodarity! Stand strong!

  36. Unk June 30, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    So when’s the next meeting? How about we keep folks as up-to-date as humanly possible to mitigate the worry on Facebook and elsewhere.

  37. Sue June 30, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

    If the staffing seems fair fine, but don’t give back the pension! We must stand strong together!

  38. UMMC, Fairview Riverside RN June 30, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    I agree with UTD-RN. I strongly believe we should ACCEPT 0-1-2% and the pension decrease if MNA continues to insist that our main concern is staffing and patient safety. I don’t believe that. Why should the public? Clearly the way this stands, this is as much about money as it is about patient safety.

    • Susan M. Hiner June 30, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

      Dear Fairview Riverside RN,
      Do you understand the loss of our contract will do for our nursing practice? If your not interested in the pension, do you have a big stach of cash? Because the cut back in the pension is like turning back time to 1968, I graduated from high school that year. I was making less than a dollar an hour, this wouldn’t buy a loaf of bread now. Back in 1968 the price of gas was less than 30 cents per gallon! My top salary in collage was $1.65 that wouldn’t buy a gallon of gas. Lets get real, do you every plan to retire! If the TCH gets the contract they want you won’t even be able to collect that pension till your at what they call the normal retirement age of 65 years, at what age will our CEO’s retire? It would also drop the rule of 85!

  39. Deb June 30, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    could we please agree to the 0-1-2 wage proposal? I think the 3% is not helping to gain our favor as far as public support goes. I would even be willing to do 0% for the entire contract. Focus on the basic issues.. staffing. Lots of people are unemployed right now. Nurses can’t find jobs. We make decent money. This particular part is not something worth striking for.

    • Susan M. Hiner June 30, 2010 at 6:17 pm #

      This isn’t about money, it’s about our nursing practice! Have you ever done any negotiation? You keep your basket open, leaving most everything open for the other side to see, but at the same time have a few things (like salary) in you hip pocket, this is a give and take issue. All the TCH want is to take take take. And if you believe everything that is put out to the media by the TCH your being foolish! Think about our patients, what do they have to loss?

  40. Penny June 30, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    I’m actually suprised we are still asking for a 3% wage increase. I was under the impression that we would be more than happy to take 0%, 1%, 2% if that meant we could have safe staffing. Was I misled?

    • Susan M. Hiner June 30, 2010 at 6:21 pm #

      Are you a where that Regions hospital sent a letter to their nurses giving them a 3% raise every year for the next 3 years? Apparently this non-union hospital see’s the value of nurse’s!

  41. Deb June 30, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

    I keep hearing that the hospitals memos are full of half truths.. what about this letter from Children’s today is being misleading?


    This is a link to the memo

    • Opie June 30, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

      When has any memo from Brumbaugh’s desk had anything but contortions of the truth, twisted facts, and expressions of “deep disappointment”? Why choose to take this particular memo at face value? Mgmt is just playing with us, hoping to nurture doubt and second-guessing among us, so we’ll lose trust in our MNA reps and in ourselves. The “deal” was theoretically on the table for an hour (an hour?! all of a sudden, after months of not budging one cm, they decide to be generous and give us 60 minutes to think about it?), actually took the offer off the table in 45 minutes, and breaking their own “communications black-out” before that. AND – didn’t you read the line about “naturally”, this offer was contingent upon our dropping any strike notice, and demanding that the MNA reps had to recommend we accept it, AND that we ratified it. That’s not negotiations, that’s an ultimatum. TCH is finally realizing how determined we are – don’t start believing them now – look at their track record!

      • Susan M. Hiner June 30, 2010 at 6:28 pm #

        Your right Opie, all of Children’s talking points are false, out right lies! I’ve quit read them, I just get angry! And yes, an ultimatum is not negotiating. And the TCH has not done any negotiating throughout the last 4 months. The disrespect that has come out the Children’s talking points is unreal!

  42. Very Concerned RN June 30, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    I agree with UTD-RN, if we are doing this for the patients, we need to pick our battle. I feel for the nurses that are within 10 years of retirement and losing pension money but we our asking the public to support us because we are trying to protect the patients, which is everyone. Drop the pension and the wage increase and go for the safe staffing. We need to feel very lucky in this economy that we have a job, many do not, asking for a wage increase is a little excessive at this time.

    • Susan M. Hiner June 30, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

      Lucky to have a job! I worked hard for my degree and license. The cut in pension will have more effect on you than me. Are you putting money away every month for your retirement? It’s hard to do when the prices of food and fuel going up faster than my income. The pension that the TCH wants, is turn back time to 1968. Just the difference between the price of gas, in 1968 gas which was 30 cents per gallon and lets see what is it today, ah $2.79 dollars.

    • JC July 1, 2010 at 5:21 am #

      If, “very concernerned” you are a MNA member , now is the time to trust your negotiating team, your elected peers who know your values, do not depend on the media or the public… they have been manipulated by the TCH anti -union machine…only the unified MNA nurses will make a difference in the outcome now. We know the Truth and it will prevail

  43. Allina RN June 30, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

    I am sure there is some disagreement among real MNA nurses about what should be accepted and what should not. I personally prefer to stand behind our negotiation team which is made up of REAL MNA bedside nurses.

    Let us remember that many of the “nurses” posting here are NOT really nurses and are here for fear-mongering, to create dissension and doubt, etc. and they have a completely different agenda.

    • HeidiRN June 30, 2010 at 3:39 pm #

      Allina RN, give it up! Just because you don’t like what you read, doesn’t mean it’s not true. There may be some “spies” blogging, but the majority of us are nurses, with valid opinions.

      • Allina RN June 30, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

        Calm down Heidi. I clearly said that there is some disagreement among real nurses and that many (didn’t say all) posters aren’t real nurses.

        But again, some posting here do it solely to cause doubts and dissension. We real nurses need to remember that.

      • MNA RN June 30, 2010 at 4:30 pm #

        To Heidi:

        Did you forget that you were outed on Facebook.
        Tell me you’re not going to start pointing fingers, stomping your feet, and name calling again… and the crying and whining was pretty ineffective too. Sounds like you’re gearing up again…

      • HeidiRN June 30, 2010 at 6:00 pm #

        Again, who’ been outed? If facebook is anything like this, I won’t go near it. You must have ignored my other posts’. There is no Lori here.

    • eric June 30, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

      I agree with Allina RN-Their are a lot infiltrators on this site whose only purpose is to create dissension. This is a game of high stakes poker and thier is a lot on the line. It would be prudent to read these blog postings with a discernig eye. The employer will do anything to get people to cross and break the union.
      I heard that one of the hospital CEOs stated that nurses in Minnesota have had to good for a long time. They are going after us and are willing to do what it takes. We, MNA NURSES, must be willing to do what it ever it takes to win this battle. We need to stand up in solidarity and oppose the employer even if it means doing something that is, at times, uncomfortable. I have your back do you mine?

      • MNA RN June 30, 2010 at 9:45 pm #

        To Eric (with a “c” not a “k”:

        You’ve covered my back and I will most certainly cover yours. I stand firmly with my MNA RN brothers and sisters!

        I trust and appreciate all that MNA reps do and the fight that they are fighting.

        Our answer was in our overwhelming vote. Our answer is in our voices. Our concerns are being negotiated. Be informed and stay aware, research information, contact you stewards and reps if needed. Know that there are certain “elements” that must be filtered. Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing and things that “quack” (If it walks like a duck, and it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck… it probably is a duck.) Be strong and tenacious.

        Sincerly, and in solidarity!

    • UMMC, Fairview Riverside RN June 30, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

      I agree with HeidiRN. I’ve talked to numerous coworkers who feel like their voice is not being heard. Everyone’s opinion matters and there should be freedom to express it. Instead, I feel like there is a lot of unprofessional bullying going on. I’ve talked to numerous coworkers who disagree with MNA’s proposals, but fear retaliation if they do cross the line. Are we living in the US or in a country that uses fear tactics to suppress freedom? It does not make me proud to be a member of MNA. I wish that everyone would respect one another’s viewpoint and act like professionals.

      • MNA RN June 30, 2010 at 10:31 pm #

        If I remember correctly… wasn’t there a vote?

        Analogy: Sorta like when we voted for a president of the United States… guess what?… a new president was voted in. Was everyone happy about who it was? Nooooooooooo. Did the one that didn’t get voted in feel bad? Probably. Did some voters get angry… yea. But we were all able to vote and make our voices heard. There was a majority of voters that made that most important choice. I respect that philosophy. There are those that fight and die to preserve that very right to be able to do exacltly that.

        The gate is not always going to swing in the same direction. Life can be hard. There are always going to be lessons to be learned and choices to make. Make sure you trust yourself and those that love and care about you to help you navigate along the way. Right now, I trust MNA a great deal more than I trust Big Business/CEOs/ their lawyers/managers and collaborators.

      • Al C July 1, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

        If we want our voices heard, this is not the forum. Call your MNA rep, call members of your negotiation committee. Let’s continue to communicate with each other and our MNA reps. thanks

    • Susan M. Hiner June 30, 2010 at 6:41 pm #

      I agree we have to realize that anyone can post on the mna blog! Do you believe everything you read or hear is the truth? The hospitals are tying to break the MNA, that’s us folks! With all the lies that have come out of the TCH how can we trust them! Get Real! We need to move forward and not backwards!

  44. Tired of ignorant nurses June 30, 2010 at 3:30 pm #

    Do you people really think if we accepted 0,1,2% that somehow the hospitals will miraculously have a change of heart and withdraw all their tack backs and somehow this contract will magically be settled? Wages are NOT the sticking point! Agreeing to their proposal will not settle the contract. And for those who didn’t hear, Regions gave their nurses 3% raises and sent a nice letter out to their nurses saying that despite tough economic times, they know nurses are WORTH IT! What does that tell you?
    I’m growing increasingly frustrated with the people who don’t go to the all-nurse meetings, who never read any of the proposals (and compared the proposals to the current contract, because there are omissions from the contract which are not listed as “proposals”, they are simply deletions like the language protecting our insurance coverage from being changed during the duration of the contract), and who never attended any of the negotiation meetings to see for themselves that MNA NEGOTIATORS HAVE TRIED HARD TO NEGOTIATE!!!!
    Quit acting like we should be doing “more”. Did you forget that we voted to reject their offers TWICE?
    MNA has stated time and time and time again that we have submitted proposals to them which are STARTING POINTS for negotiating, that we are NOT digging in our heels and refusing to negotiate on any of those items including pension, wages, staffing.
    I’m starting to get the vibe that all you impatient nurses out there just want to avoid the strike so badly that you’re willing to believe the TCH’s as generous when they rob our contract and try to throw back a few crumbs and criticize MNA negotiators for not doing enough? Puh-leez.
    The nurses who have educated themselves on this negotiation process and who have attended the meetings and who have been invested in this process KNOW who is telling the truth, and it ain’t TCHs.

    • Susan M. Hiner June 30, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

      Everyone needs to read the above, this nurse said it all!

    • married to a nurse June 30, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

      I’ve read this blog almost daily and it is really sad that anyone who questions what MNA leadership is doing couldn’t possibly be a nurse, or at least a nurse that is educated about what is going on. Just because someone has a differing opinion doesn’t mean they’re ignorant or misinformed, simply means they don’t agree. I am not a nurse and I know this blog doesn’t “belong” to me, but it really is sad that almost everytime someone identifies themself as a nurse and has a differing opinion they are totally shot down or accused of being a “spy”. Isn’t is possible, that intelligent, educated people could have opposing opinions? People don’t use their real names on this blog because they fear they will be harrassed to no end — they are probably right. I don’t see how this whole thing is going to possibly end on a positive note – for either side.

      • HeidiRN June 30, 2010 at 11:12 pm #

        Thank you married to nurse.

  45. Ann June 30, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    I am a nurse practitioner and a non-contract employee so I feel I am fairly non-biased. Seriously, hearing the statements by the two sides after negotiations is very confusing. Both sides emerge from the negotiations with such different stories of what was said, like both sides were speaking in a language the other doesn’t understand. Seems like both sides are hell bent on forcing a strike. Good luck to you all.

    • Mary June 30, 2010 at 9:31 pm #

      Thanks, Ann. I agree.

    • UTD-RN July 1, 2010 at 3:04 am #

      Agreed, and unfortunately I’m stuck in this position where others get to “negotiate” for me until I finish grad school. It’s sad to see how many people are acting like 12 year olds over this whole thing.

  46. MNA proud member June 30, 2010 at 5:01 pm #

    MNA nurses stand strong. Look at what TCH are doing. They delibertly proprosed their inital proprosals to incite all nurses. They absolutly wanted this to go this way. why else do you think they are now acting like the RN’s best friend and telling RN’s that MNA is not working for RN’s but have a hidden agenda. Because they want MNA out of the hospitals. Why are Allina web sites full of ways to inform and help RN’s to resign from MNA. Do you honestly think TCH care–Look at their proposals if you think they care. AND when TCH state that Twin City Nurses make the median pay, where do you think you live? In median USA? no you live in Minnesota, where we are in the top 10% for state, federal and property taxes. Conusmer prices in top 10% of country-Think

  47. Outside Opinion June 30, 2010 at 5:04 pm #

    Hey all, just wanted to leave a few comments in regards to your current situation in the Twin Cities. I’m a former employee of both Mayo and United, and now do travel nursing. To be clear, I’m not working the strike in July. I support what you guys are trying to do, and I’ve been following along as best I can with what I have to work with, trying to understand what’s ultimately going on.

    Regarding the raise: you guys deserve a raise. I think 0-1-2- is insulting. However, I also feel that in these economic times, 3-3-3 is very optimistic if not a bit much. And I know, Regions recently got a 3-3-3 raise. If you’re out to get that sort of raise, go work at Regions.

    Regarding the pension: In the 4 years that I worked as staff at Mayo, I can’t even tell you the number of times they made changes to the pension. It was so often that I decided early on that I wasn’t going to depend on my employer, whomever that may be, to take care of me when I was ready to quit working. There are a lot of professions out there that have no option of a pension whatsoever. I don’t mean it to sound like I think you should give up on the pension angle, especially for those of you that have a lot of years in or are close to retirement. I’m just saying that I don’t think a pension is something that will ever be guaranteed, and everyone should plan ahead.

    The staffing: I’ve only worked med-surg/step-down in my eight years as a nurse, so keep that in mind. Personally, I think a 1:4 ration on nights on a med-surg shift, allowing for a free charge and CNAs is extremely liberal. I know I could provide care above and beyond what could be considered adequate, possibly even exceptional, which is what our patients deserve. But, I can’t help but be honest with myself and know that I would probably also be bored. Again, this isn’t about me, it’s about the patients. But we also have to be realistic. Just because you give a nurse a 1:4 ratio, that doesn’t guarantee good care. Lazy nurses are lazy nurses, no matter what the assignment is. I’ve seen nurses spend 10 minutes searching for an aide to take a patient off the bedpan, when it would have been over and done with in 3 minutes had they just done it themselves. 1:4 also doesn’t take into account acuity, which is ultimately what makes the difference between a good assignment and a bad assignment. I’ve had horrible nights with 4 patients, and I’ve had awesome nights with 8 patients. It’s all relative, and unfortunately unpredictable. Mayo has a computerized acuity tool, which works decently well, however, it doesn’t cover obesity or incontinence, two things that take up not just time, but also require extra staff for turns, transfers, etc. We frequently worked short when I was there, even with the acuity tool. And before you’re quick to jump on the California bandwagon regarding their staffing, I have a very good friend that used to live and work out in Cali who refuses to go back. Yes, they have a 1:5 ratio, but they cut the ancillary staff (at her hospital, I can’t speak for any of the other ones). Imagine taking care of all those patients, doing everything for them, by yourselves. When two people soil the bed at the same time, or two are getting blood at the same time, who do you go to first? You don’t have the option of sending the aide in one room while you tackle the other. That’s something to keep in mind. I know that there was literature in the proposal that wouldn’t allow the hospitals to staff down on CNAs, LPNs, and the like, but I honestly think that if you guys really fight to get the ratios (and win), that little clause will get thrown out. No hospital will agree to those kinds of numbers. I think you will be lucky to get those ratios even if you throw out everything else in the proposal.

    I would like to know what the “significant modifications” were that MNA made to the proposals. I suppose you’ll find all that out at the meetings today. In short, I think TCH is trying to stick it to you guys. What they’re proposing is worse than what the non-union hospitals are providing their nurses…at least it seems that way. Again, I support what you’re doing…fight the good fight, and stick together. Just keep your eyes and ears open. And for those of you that don’t support what the union is doing, maybe you shouldn’t work at a union hospital. There are plenty of good non-union hospitals out there. I’m just sayin.’

    • HeidiRN July 1, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

      Outside opinion, you make some great points, how does this acuity tool work? And how could I find out more info about it? What we need right now are solutions and ideas about ways to make things work with staffing, more and more it seems like strict ratios may not be the way to go, anyone? Any thoughts or ideas about staffing?

      • MNA RN July 1, 2010 at 5:54 pm #

        To Heidi:

        You’re changing your colors again… You’re almost like one of those little green lizards.

        Which side of the fence are you on now? You state that “Outside Opinion” made some great points? I especially like the point about: “for those of you that don’t support what the union is doing, maybe you shouldn’t work at a union hospital.” I think that is excellent advice! Especially to you. Heidi, that has been your stance since you started on this blog… not very supporting considering what site you are on. Someone on MNA Facebook was just outed as being a non-union supervisor… and they sounded just like you! When they hear something that they don’t like they point fingers, stomp their feet and whine.

        You have a right to your opinion… but so do I.
        I stand with my MNA RN brothers and sisters, not against them. I respect my MNA reps that are fighting the fight for our profession and keeping it safe for the patients and the nurses.

        Solidarity

      • HeidiRN July 2, 2010 at 2:12 am #

        Well mna rn, looks like this was about $$$ and benefits after all. So, what was the main focus supposed to be. How’s that moral highground?

  48. RN June 30, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    I just have one question, can anyone answer this for me?
    Is this strike really a labor strike? I have read a few articles stating that this strike has not yet been accepted as a labor strike.
    Does anyone know the answer to this?

  49. MercyRN June 30, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    Tired of ignorant nurses? Hmm.. sounds like you do not support your fellow nurses on their personal/financial situations and opinions. How do we stick together when EVERYONE’S opinion is not respected. Solidarity my ass. No one cares about the ones who cannot afford this. People need to work. Some nurses are the only income for their family. MNA’s thought on this: We should’ve financially prepared for this? Are you crazy? The only ones financially able to prepare are the ones who no longer have a mortgage or have a little amount left. Those are the ones that want the pay increases, the pension, the rule of 85, etc. The newer nurses are so fortunate to have jobs right now. There are nurses that have graduated that would LOVE a job in the hospital, but cannot get one because there aren’t any openings. Somehow we need to fight this fight for everyone else, but when it comes to our needs, Well then I guess we’re just ignorant nurses. This MNA crap not backing down has gone on too long. Quit acting like you care about ALL the nurses. There’s an adgenda here; and I am not quite sure what it is. Many do not support this. People may have voted to strike, but in good faith that the negoitators have EVERYONES best interest at hand. Don’t tell me you’re fighting for my future when I may not have a job after all this is said and done. How can I collect on a pension if the hospitals re-structre and eliminate positions, one of them being mine? I had asked a “seasoned nurse” if I fight this fight but lose my job, will you fight for me to get my job back? Know what she said? “No.” Oh wait, I’m just an ignorant nurse. I forgot.

  50. Dave June 30, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

    I’m proud to say my wife’s one of you. I have a real appreciation for what all of you do. I’ve stood by why my wifes loses sleep, and is generally stressed out. I’m sure many of you can relate. I will continue supporting her and all of you. My hope is you’ll keep talking, and the Federal Mediators will begin to earn their money.

  51. Michele June 30, 2010 at 7:01 pm #

    To ALLINA RN: Thanks for that analogy/ joke. It would be funnier if it didn’t ring so true!

    To all the others: Like many of you, I certainly cannot afford to go on strike! But I am and YOU and OUR PATIENTS are worth fighting for! Do you realize that at open enrollment time for our benefits for the past three years, they have increased our health care premiums by AT LEAST THE SAME AMOUNT as our annual raise, if not MORE!
    If we don’t stand up for ourselves now, we will definitely not be able to offset what they are going to do to us w/ next year’s benefits! They are probably going to raise them more than they give us in an annual raise, but at least it might offset some of the pain.
    Also, while I and all of my coworkers with whom I have spoken were ABSOLUTELY FINE w/ NOT getting any kind of raise this year b/c we understand that the economy sucks and we don’t want to be part of the problem…our CEO–Alan Goldbloom–took a 12% raise this year. How is that okay?! It’s not!
    I understand wanting to give more and “get it over with”, but it is too true that they are employing classic union-busting techniques. What are you thinking people?! Do you really think mgmt is going to GIVE anything? They are simply appealing to the media and the public while trying to shovel this crap down our throats while forcefully holding our mouths open. Maybe we should find more ways to “take it” from the employer, too.
    PLEASE DON’T LET THEM DIVIDE US!

  52. SUPPORTING RNs June 30, 2010 at 7:36 pm #

    There should be no questioning of why MNA does not accept the 0-1-2 wage. TCH will not only be making money off those RNs under this contract but on the backs of RNs throughout the state. Other MNA contracts have the wage increase for 2010 set as “whatever the Twine Cities MNA contract get”. So the involved health care organizations will making money on the backs of RNs throughout the state. The big picture around the wage is-
    Healthcare organizations would come out of this HUGE. Their profit margins would go up BIG all over the state. Not even Public Opinion would agree that they deserve THAT MUCH profit for non profit organizations.
    Put it together with Pensions and the safe staffing… MNA is fighting for NURSES AND THE COMMUNITIES WE WORK FOR. TCH ARE ALL ABOUT THIER PRECIOUS MONEY

  53. Allina RN June 30, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

    AGAIN- remember that many posters here are indeed solely posting to create a sense of fear, dissension, and chaos. That bears repeating. The hospitals have hired a PR firm for a reason folks.

    Nurses ARE the union- why would bedside nurses on the negotiation team lie? What would they gain from that? They have as much to lose/gain as all other MNA members. They are not professional negotiators- we strike/they strike.

    What benefit would it be to TCH to say “Yes, we admit it- we really aren’t negotiating in good faith. Our goal all along has been to try to break you all down so we can make more money.” ? They will never admit to those things. Thus the carefully (but non-specific) worded emails and letters that sound oh so reasonable.

    • Erik June 30, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

      I feel your argumentation to be fallacious. Yes there may be PR people posting, but certainly people are allowed to feel different and even opposed. When you call people out, you must have evidence that the accusations can be quantified and supported. That reminds of this town called Salem, around the 1700s or so.
      You ask good questions. what would negotiators have to gain? I cant answer that, for i do not know.
      I feel a lot of people are getting frustrated at the MNA-TCH “he said, she said”, as tranparency has been suprisingly poor.
      Lets not be quick to call others out for their comments and opinions. Especially if they are good natured and polite. We really dont know who anyone is on a public forum. :)

      • MNA RN June 30, 2010 at 11:20 pm #

        “Good natured and polite!”

        WHAT!

        A rattlesnake is good natured and polite!
        At least the rattlesnake warns you before he gets ready to sink fangs into you…

        If I don’t respect someone for their views, I am not going to respect them for their views.

        I don’t sit on two sides of the fence at the same time and I am not two faced. Black is black and white is white and there is absolutely no way that you are going to get me to do or say something that I know is wrong. I know what right is.

        I know what I believe in.

        I love peace and quiet but I will fight like hell if I have to.

        Other than that…
        I’m good natured and polite!

        SOLIDARITY!

      • MNA RN June 30, 2010 at 11:29 pm #

        To Erik (with a “k”):

        “If you don’t like my opinion of you, you can always improve.”
        quote by: Ashleigh Brilliant

      • Erik July 1, 2010 at 4:09 am #

        I guess i fail to see the point of your reply MNA RN. I’m not saying you have to be on both sides, but as intelligent adults, we should listen to what the other side has to say. Perhaps they can learn something from each other. Perhaps Ashleigh Brilliant say is better, “Be Kind to unkind people, they need it the most.”

  54. Siobhan June 30, 2010 at 9:28 pm #

    I am a nurse in one of the bargaining hospitals. I agree that we seem very disingenuous to say it is about staffing and then be asking for a raise in this amount. I also am furious that NNU is involved in our business. Get them OUT. I have seen the anger and bullying too. This is against everything I believe about how we should treat others. What I really want is the bargaining sessions televised on youtube or somewhere I can actually see what is happening. Because it is clear there have been numerous times in the past month where MNA or the hospitals have lied to us about what is really happening.

  55. Mary June 30, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

    In defense of “ignorant nurses”:
    I am one of the RN’s who doesn’t go to all of the meetings. This does not make me “ignorant.” This situation is frustrating, but I take exception to the fact that you consider yourself somehow better, smarter, or more frustrated than other RNs simply because you attended meetings. I have elected reps that I trusted to have my best interests in mind when they bargain. The staffing at the hospital where I work is good but it has been changing over the last year or so. I don’t want that downward trend to continue, but I don’t believe TCH will ever, I repeat, EVER agree to a 1:4 ratio. And really, I thought 1:4 was a “STARTING POINT” since there are many units/shifts that don’t need 1:4. Our negotiators need to bargain on this issue. Nurses need to have a voice in staffing levels, and acuity absolutely has to play a part in decisions. Staffing stictly by the numbers has been one of the biggest complaints on our unit. I definitely want to avoid a strike, but that doesn’t mean I believe all the TCH propaganda. Give your fellow RNs a little more credit than that, would you? I think most of us are pretty well-informed about something that will affect our lives this drastically. We have a right to expect nothing but the best from our team of negotiators, we want them to hear us the same way we want TCH to hear us collectively, and we have every right to question and voice our opinions if we feel that we’re getting less than that. Puh-leez indeed!

  56. Patti-Nurse supporter June 30, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    I hate to say it, but if the majority of nurses were males, there would not be the talk about folding when the negotiations get tough/threatening. Grow up TC nurses. Do you really think the TCH are going to treat you fairly if they do not have a legal contract to follow? Do you really think they are going to take care of you? The majority of you have worked hard for 20+ years to get the basic benefits you have (i.e.: pension, health insurance). Why would you give them up with out a good fight? Many of the previous comments mention, “Why should the nurses get these benefits if others (other industries) don’t have them?” The question should really be “WHY aren’t the “others” getting these basic benefits?” The TCH are your classic schoolyard bully. If you give in now, the bullying will never end.

  57. unitednurse June 30, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    I am not so selfless as to claim that the staffing issue is my one and only concern. I too am willing to take whatever the union finds fair and equitable for us. Do any of my fellow RNs realize what the change in Medical benefits could mean to one family?
    First consider the ratio of time at bedside compared to any of the ancillary staff, MDs, and certainly management. We are at the bedside of patients for cares approx 80% of our shifts. This means if we are with a violent patient, we risk being harmed much more than any other staff. If a patient is admitted or transferred with a serious communicable disease or bacteriel infection, we are often not aware of this for days . Our exposure to the risks of these patients come with the job but we need strong health insurance to maintain our health in order to continue taking care of our patients. Consider who is with families as the lose their loved ones. We are there, willing, wanting to help them through this. These situations are not done without consequence. Our stress levels are dagerously high, this increasing the risk of illness becaouse stress has been proven to weaken us.
    If we have to pay 20% of our hospitalization, on top of a deductable, lose time at work while regaining our health, how will you see the fairness of our contract. Pension is important to many, Staffing is important to many, but health insurance, do you all realize what the proposal for this change my to to you, your retirement and/or your families and your health. Please, dont just think of wages, pension, staffing. Think of our insurance and how important it is to our health and longevity.

    • JC July 1, 2010 at 5:27 am #

      Thank you for eloquently verbalizing this issue!

  58. RN1966 June 30, 2010 at 11:30 pm #

    I think taking the wage increase proposed by TCH should be accepted. No nurse I’ve talked with has really been interested or expecting a raise. Plus the public would better understand what we really want. BUT we must keep the benefits that have been earned in previous contracts!! …in addition to working on appropriate staffing ratios. The younger nurses are only thinking in immediate terms, some day they will be upset they allowed their pension, health insurance, etc. go in the toilet. Most important right now is to be aware that TCH want to break the union and then next year they can go to work on 113! TCH could never seriously thought MNA would go along with having so much taken away from our contract……..they want us scared, divided, and broken. Don’t them them!!!!!

  59. RN1966 June 30, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

    Don’t let them!!!!!

  60. mna rn June 30, 2010 at 11:38 pm #

    I have been reading all these posts and I truely understand everyones fear. But the importance of standing together is HUGE!! We must trust our negotiators , I was one of the unfortunate nurses to be on strike in 2001. For those of you not on strike in 2001 do you have any idea how scary that was to be the only organization on strike in the metro? and then to be told that every other facility was “not hiring striking nurses” THAT WAS SCARY! It took roughly 2 years to go to court and we did win! If our mna reps are saying this is a ulp believe them they too have lawyers. I trusted my mna reps in 2001 and I trust them now and for those of you that can’t see that the hospitals are trying to divide us look again. I am scared to but I’m more scared of what we have to lose and way less scared then 2001. Because in 2001 we were alone! bad economy or not alone is alone. I am not willing to give up my pension and all the take backs cause if they win and you honestly think they will stop at this 3 years from now I don’t want to hear the whinning later. Support each other and it will work out. You need to believe and I am sorry but I do not agree with anyone who crosses the picket line and reeps the benefits while I do not collect a check and they do. We voted to strike and strike we will do. Do not stab your fellow workers in the back we will help each other out. Believe! no one wants to stike but if need be stand together and it will be shorter. One last thing to think about is the economy was bad last year and look at the profit they made even after paying into our pension and giving us a raise. Go Figure!

    • MNA RN June 30, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

      To mna rn:

      I concur and applaud!

      Sincerly, and in solidarity!

      • RN July 1, 2010 at 1:05 am #

        We all need to have a heart! If someone choses to cross the picket line, whether it be due to financial reasons or just because they don’t believe in the strike then everyone needs to respect that decision. Those crossing are not asking anyone to strike for them, they are simply choosing not to strike. MNA says this is a democracy…that is BS! Those of us that have a different opinion and don’t want to strike are already being put down and ridiculed. It’s absolutely shameful and totally disheartening that these people who are supposedly our friends can turn their backs so easily simply over a difference of opinion. If this was a true democracy we would all be entitled to our own opinions and decisions regarding this matter. As it stands now, if you don’t agree 100% with the union and if you don’t want to do exactly what they say…well then good luck to you because those you work with are going to treat you horribly and say things behind your back. It’s all so childish. We are adults and should respect each other no matter what. We don’t all have to believe the same things and vote the same way. I’m not asking you to strike for me so why should I have to strike for you?

      • Al C July 1, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

        I don’t want to go on strike. I didn’t wake up in Jan. and say goody, goody this year I want to go on strike. This year has alot of firsts, my first strike, the first time my employers are not negotiating in good faith an so on….
        I am willing to fight for our patients.
        We are in negotiations the way Teamsters, Steel Workers, Airline Employees and many others have been through. Both sides are playing hard ball to see who blinks first. HOLD on and don’t BLINK!
        These issues almost always are avoided at the last possible minute so pray for both sides to come together an talk to one another.
        Thanks for your time

  61. MNA RN July 1, 2010 at 12:28 am #

    This is another excellent article:

    I’ve read many of such articles and watched the videos. I keep referring back to them just to keep it fresh in my mind. This article exposes TCH and their tactics. It saddens me deeply but also fortifies my spirit to do what must be done. When I see these ploys enacted in the workplace I understand them for what they are and who they are coming from and who they have employed to try to break our spirits. TCH my soul is not for sale. I will not undermine or stab my brothers and sisters in the back. I will fight!

    http://www.laborunionresources.org/UNIONBUSTING.html

  62. Am I a RN??? July 1, 2010 at 12:46 am #

    Just because you have “RN” in your name it doesn’t mean you are one, and if you don’t have “RN” in your name is doesn’t mean you aren’t one. The anger and hostility on this blog, FB, and the Strib is appalling and I’m embarrassed for our profession. “We care for you” is our motto, but it should be “disagree with me and I’ll destroy you”. Knock it off. People are entitled to their opinion, not just you. If it differs from yours, then freedom of speech is working. You are entitled yours, and so is everyone else. If you don’t agree with common courtesy, then it shows your character. Go. Rip me apart, I’m beyond caring.

  63. shelly, RN, Childrens July 1, 2010 at 1:04 am #

    Here is a response to the MPR reporter who asked for some feedback from me on the upcoming strike
    Shelly to Molly
    show details 7:31 PM (2 minutes ago)
    Hello Molly: I have been an RN at Childrens Mpls for 30 years. So I was involved in the nurses strike of ’84. I have been a union steward for almost 29 years at Childrens. I presently work full time.
    I believe the hospitals are banded together to break the union. Nonunion people, also referred to as non-contract employees, have much poorer benefits, wages, and more arbitrary conditions of employment. I don’t just say this, know this.
    Hospital work today is even more complex, stressful and demanding than 20+ years ago. Patients are sicker, or more acutely ill as we say, requiring much more technology, close monitoring, expert assessment and skilled interventions and timely decision making so you can be admitted, treated and discharged as quickly as possible. As the MHA strives to erode our profession and our ability to provide actual nursing care by an RN and not by a minimally trained, minimally educated, lesser paid “assistive personnel,” ask yourself this: In five or ten years when my loved one: mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter is ill and hospitalized and needs a bang-up experienced compassionate, educatedon her/his toes RN to keep you alive until you can sip water and then be booted out of the hospital, will there be one available to respond to their or your acute needs?
    This isn’t about money, this is about control. Can 12,000 RNs be wrong? Our CEO is past president of the MHA. He is in bed with all the other twin city hospitals who are Childrens’ competitors for one reason only. He wants to break the union and wittle away our great contract. Yes, we have a great contract, but it has come from years of persistent efforts through negotiations and collaboration. We are not seeing collaboration this year. Childrens has staffing ratios on some units, so why are they not agreeing to discussing this at the table. Because they are in bed with MHA.
    Is Alan Goldbloom(CEO Childrens) who makes 1.2 Million a year looking out for Children’s best interests? Or is he focused on breaking the nurses union, putting the nurses in their place, and not looking at our proposals thoughtfully, engagingly and seriously. This is about having a say in what we do day in and day out, 24 hours a day, weekends, holidays, evenings and nights. An RN can save your life. An RN saved my mother’s life in the hospital. I am working to save the RN profession by voting to strike. I am striking to assure that there will be an RN to care for me and my loved ones when I need their care. I am 53 years old, the mother of two, and coming from a large family, I know how important one’s RN can be when our loved one is hospitalized. It can be a matter of life and death.
    I don’t make this decision for myself, as I will be retiring within 10 years. I make the decision to strike for the future of health care and the quality we have grown to expect in Minnesota. I strike for young nurses now, for their patients in the future, for you and your loved ones who one day may need a damn good nurse. I strike so that she won’t quit from overwork, burnout, unsafe staffing levels putting her compassion to the test while trying to determine which of her patients is most sick that shift- all this after leaving her family at 10:30 at night to go work, and missing Christmas with her kids, to care for your baby or child with leukemia.
    – Show quoted te

  64. RN TWIN CITIES July 1, 2010 at 1:49 am #

    Dear RN,

    Good luck with that working side by side with the rest of your “teammates” when this is over…. I would start updating my resume, because you won’t last long….sorry!

  65. RN's Husband July 1, 2010 at 2:06 am #

    Dear MNA

    Pensions are dead. Stop asking for them. Maintain the legacy RN pensions but please, stop offering new ones. This is what happens when you hold your employer responsible for your retirement, you are at their mercy. Take some responsibility; focus on the 403b and how that can be strengthened. Only then it is up to the individual to make sure they save enough for their future life. There is no doubt that patient safety is #1 and it should be. You have the full support of every sane person on that one. But, if you are so blind in your childish, unprofessional anti-hospital rhetoric assault to see that the financial provisions carried over from the distant past are out-of-date then please, step down and let someone with a thought in the present take over. Stop punishing the younger nurse generations for your own gain. The guise of “this is for the younger nurses down the road” is the worst ruse presented here. As a RN you should consider yourself lucky. Not many professions get full benefits for working 16 hours, heck hardly any employers will allow employees to only work 32 hours. Be glad to have a job. I know my wife is. I fully support her in her quest to keep patients safe and return them to health. She represents the kind of humble, caring health professional that the nursing profession needs and will need in the future. Try not to forget the choices you made and the real reasons you became a RN in the first place. A real nurse would take the high road, trying to see both sides of the argument. It may not be the tactic used by the TCH but at least you will not continue to stoop to their level. The public will back you 100% if the mudslinging discontinues and instead turns into honest, professional negotiations. I know I will, at least more than I do now.

    Thank you for being nurses,
    – Husband of a nurse

    • JC July 1, 2010 at 5:04 am #

      When TCH slings mud at the MNA membership it will turn to stone and solidify our drive to get an acceptable contract for patients and the RNs who provide thier care. MNA is ready to negotiate! Have been for months now…and not responding to fear based tactics. In solidarity!

    • RN26yrs July 1, 2010 at 8:49 am #

      Sir,

      I commend your support for your wife.
      You are way out of line to define a “real nurse”.
      You have very little understanding of what’s going on at the bedside all over the country. I am not a union nurse. I am not a Minnesota nurse. However, what they are doing is NEEDED everywhere. The patients are NOT safe. I’m concerned when those not in the healthcare profession who are seduced by the hospital’s interpretation of the nurses’ motives. Pension is a very minute part of all this. As far as your name calling and derogatory assumptions towards what these nurses are trying to accomplish….shame on you.
      Read, study, talk to the real nurses!…You are going off half knowledge about the realities going on with the patients. I can tell you horror stories all over the United States. I’ve been a travel nurse for 5 years in the 26 yrs I’ve been an active ER nurse. I’ve been doing this a long time and I do see the whole picture and as a real nurse they are right about the hospital. Have you ever been on the inside to these dealings? The hospitals do tell them one thing and the public another.

      Someone has to do something to stop cutting of jobs at the patients expense. Someone has to do something about the hospitals not hiring experience nurses or retaining experience nurses. There are “old school” nurses all over the country that can’t get a job due to the cutting of nurses to fund atriums, fish aquariums, expansion etc. The thing a patient who is vunerable and hurt or ill needs most is a human touch, human care. I have not been able to land a permanent job after I came off of travel (and the economy took a dive). And before you think it….No, I’ve never been fired, I’ve always had great evaluations and a great resume. I was with 28 travel agencies and four local agencies and could not get a job. I’ve applied to at least 50 permanent jobs in the last year and been told I was over qualified or we’d get back to you. I work in an “at will” state. I was in an unemployment line with a doctor and engineer.
      There is a silent freeze going on with hospitals all over the country due to past poor spending and budgeting.

      Our focus as a system as been off for a very long time. There was a time when we took very good care of the patient without all the bells and whistles. I think the nurses are saying “lets get back to the basics”. What is “healthcare”. I wouldn’t be surprise if the hospitals started putting amusement park rides in the hospitals with the way they are spending money on everything but the bedside. The focus is lost and thus the funding is dysfunctionally spent.

      None of them will admit that they are purposely not hiring. This is tactic business uses to get a quick pick up of their budget. The nurses are tired of paying for the hospitals acting like motels rather than healthcare institutions. They see how it affects the patient. They know they it sets them up for failure. And yes, the “real” nurses are tired of seeing patients die, deteriorate or just getting poor care due to shortage of nurses at the bedside.
      How would you feel about going into a hospital knowing it was short nurses?

      In the last year, I have been on unemployment (for 1 week). I wasn’t on longer because I have put together a scrapbook of an income. I never thought it would happen to me. But guess what, the hospitals are businesses they will sacrifice your wife and other nurses before they will change. Unless…. they are forced to change by pleasure or pain. That is the motivation for anyone to change. Gain or loss. The proposal of a committee to review the staffing ratios has been thrown out there for years! It’s a worn out old carrot that does nothing but sit there and rot. Their committees are just a distraction from action. Yes, I’ve been in administration, I can speak to this out of personal experience. I know the dealings that’s why I got out. The nurses around the country brought these staffing ratios to the attention of every hospital yet the hospitals do not change when asked nicely. Then the patients and nurses suffer. Did you know it’s cheaper to make a nurse an escape goat for an “error” than to fix the problem? There are a dozen of ways to win-win yet there is no motivation for the hospitals to change their practice of doing business unless something somewhere makes it more pleasureable or more painful.
      The hospitals, if they hire are only hiring new grads, cheaper labor. There are a whole bunch of old school nurses in “as needed” pools all over the country because they won’t hire us. They would have to pay for our experience. And it ‘s a business after all. It is much cheaper to hire new grads because they are at the low end of the payscale. Also they don’t question the system because they don’t know the politics yet. They also are naive to the workings of the “business” and easy prey as escape goats for poor business practices and budgeting.
      Yes, there is a win-win. The nurses are saying this but not at the nurse patient expense. The hospitals need to start selling their fountains and expensive paintings. Have the local starving artist showcase their art. There are a number of ways to put the money back at the bedside where it belongs. There is a number of ways to put the humanity back into the hospitals.
      I have nurses crying to me on shift after only 1 1/2 years out of school. They ask me how did I do it for so long. My reply is it wasn’t like this. When the churches, charitable organizations and doctors had control the focus was on the patient and the care, not on profit and bells and whistles. These hospitals put more money towards looking good than being good. The nurses today are set up for failure with the load and responsibility they have in a short 12 hr shift. It gets mighty short when you are a “real” nurse and care. Just as a soldier has to go to war sometimes for what he believes in so do these nurses. I honor them and take great offense in your misguided, uneducated perception of what’s really going on here. You show ignorance on this subject with your posting.
      It is also is hippocritical for you to thank them for being nurses yet slap them with ‘ if you are so blind in your childish, unprofessional anti-hospital rhetoric assault ‘
      I have also been on the side of relief for strike nurses. I also know that someone has to hold down the fort while someone goes to war. I am getting out of nursing for what it has become. Now you are left with very inexperienced nurses that have no one to show them the ropes and many are developing bad habits due to the fact they have to just wing it without the support and education after the license is issued. Are you ok with a nurse forgetting something or making an error on your loved one because they were overwhelmed with too many patients. You say no excuse. Well, the nurses that have all the tricks and tips and been doing it for a long time are also struggling. We take care of the patient and chart for 2 hours after our shift. Still even with that we are running to beat the band. Do you think that that fast pace is conducive to low error rates?

      Sir, if you are really for “real” nurses than reconsider your posting and read up on both sides. Read what this site says and listen to those who actually work at the bedside. I for one should be against this if all is true about being a “SCAB” but I’m not.

      I am all for them. I wish there where nurses in my state that would do the same. I for one want to be cared for by that kind of “real” nurse. The one that sticks up for me when I’m a patient. The one that puts their job on the line for my quality of care. The one that takes action and sacrifices for a “better” kind of healthcare which involves caring for people by people.

      • RN Husband July 1, 2010 at 9:13 pm #

        Looks like they just settled at the request of the nurses and not just with what the union wanted. Looks like the over-entitled 26 year nurse will still be proudly unemployed and still not part of a union. No staffing ratios, so what will all you “patient pitiers” do? You had better pray that the current contracts don’t suffocate the hospitals and leave you unemployed just like our old resident nursing insider here. As a person who has been involved in both sides I will keep close watch as the hiring freeze continues and the older “experienced” nurses slowly get picked off. Keep up the good work. Keep up the know-it-all attitude just like our welfare nurse above. It might look good on your resume.

    • MNA RN and PROUD July 1, 2010 at 9:25 am #

      Mr. RN’s Husband,
      I’m not sure you’ve been following closely to what is going on. Maybe you need to take off the blinder.
      I don’t thinking being a NURSE is lucky , I believe it’s called hard work , dediciation and the want to care for others.
      I am very proud to have MNA and Nurse’s United standing strong with us. When you’re working 3-4 staff short and you can’t get medications out or answer a call light something is wrong, while the CEO’s sit in their offices and plan where to spend more money foolishly.
      We first and foremost need to put patient safety and working conditions first.
      Now for pensions, I quess you just gave up your wife’s becasue it not necessary and of course you carry the insurance and she doesn’t need it .
      The mud slinging as you call it is just what it is. If you want the real facts read the MNA website, not just nurses’ voicing their opinions ,many others that truely support NURSES” and what is happening right now and needed to happen for some time.

  66. Patti-Nurse supporter July 1, 2010 at 2:19 am #

    Nurses remember…those of us who work without union support/contract are considered “at will employees”. Which means our employers can fire us at any time for NO reason. If you think going on strike is “scary” and unpredictable. Think about working in an environment where you can be terminate for no just cause, because you are “at will”. That is the reality of working without a union contract and that IS scary. Do not let the TCH bully you into giving up what you have worked so hard to achieve. Stop watching the news and stop reading the papers, it’s all propaganda used by the TCH. Divide and conquer is what the TCH did on the last union negotiations, do not fall for it again.

    • JC July 1, 2010 at 3:20 am #

      Patti is so right! Do not fall into the fear traps being set by TCH and their ringleader Tom Horner…by the way remember that name in elections for Mn Gv. The time is now to stand strong behind our vote and trust the elected bargaining team of REAL RNs in the member driven MNA process of contract negotiations. We, the MNA RNs are not afraid of the bullies in the TCH campaign! SOLIDARITY!!!

    • Midnight Hobo July 1, 2010 at 5:07 am #

      Also, turn the lights off and wear a hat made out of tin foil. TCH tried to implant us with chips a few years ago, but I can still hear their propaganda lies and slander! They want to give us Union employees the same benefits as those non union nurses junkies who don’t threaten to leave their jobs. Also dont drink water, and shop at department stores. TCh is everywhere you know! I wonder how those non union nurses do it? How could someone work 8.5 hours a day, 5 days a week? Jesus man, you’re talkin crazy! Teh tinfoil isnt working! i need 95% employer paid health insurance @ .4 fte! Thank god i dont have to put in a solid week, so i can litterally spend all day on this blog with MNA RN talking about rattlesnakes and how CEOs ruined my job. Thank you Patti, that’s some dangerous propaganda to watch out for. Information = oppression. Since the MNA did such a good job not releasing any information of their own, i’m home free! need moar tin foil!

      Sincerely….
      Midnight Hobo (an RN, OR AM I HOSPITAL MANAGMENT?!!??!!?!)

      • MNA RN July 1, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

        To Midnight Hobo:

        Whatever you are… you are icky.
        Somebody please flush the toilet!

      • HeidiRN July 1, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

        Midnight hobo you are hilarious! Thanks for making me laugh today. :)

    • Abbott RN July 1, 2010 at 5:52 am #

      Thank You Patti!! Support like this is needed right now!

  67. Chicago Nurse July 1, 2010 at 3:04 am #

    We here in Chicago just got 13% over four years + an extra step on the end. Our hospital thought by giving us the money we would not switch to NNU. WRONG! We got the money now we get to reopen with NNU!. Stay strong MNA…we are with you in Chicago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  68. mna rn July 1, 2010 at 4:10 am #

    To RN:

    In response to your statement “I’m not asking you to strike for me so why should I have to strike for you?

    Answer: The majority voted to strike! You work in a Union Hospital , you don’t have to agree and you can even cross but don’t expect to be treated the same when we return cause it isn’t gonna happen! We will never forget those who cross and prolong this . Management won’t reward you down the road for crossing heck you probably won’t even be in same department and believe me when I tell you you will allways be labeled wherever you go whether you crossed in 84 or 2001 or 2010? Fact is the majority that cross last less then a year in same dept. Support your fellow workers don’t stab them in the back and expect to be treated the same.

  69. RN-Wife-Mommy July 1, 2010 at 5:16 am #

    Wanting to be heard and wanting more than a Yes/No box.

    I wish there was a way to communicate with MNA on what members are willing to sacrifice and what what we each really want. I wish there was a secured website that you could verify membership and vote on key issues to give our reps and negotiating team some guidance.

    For instance… #1…yes, patient loads are too high on many units. I’ve worked in California with mandated ratios. It sucked!!!! Unless you have acuity systems designed by RNs on their perspective units, ratios do not protect patients or nurses.

    #2… I don’t know one RN who gives a damn about a raise

    #3… give the hospital their pension cut for 4 years and an automatic return to the previous pension formula on a non-negotiating year.

    #4… every take back affects somebody, let US vote on what WE really are willing to give back. I’m a 12 hour RN… I’d give up my premium pay if it helped stop a strike and get this mess settled.

    Give us a way for ALL members to actively and fairly communicate with our MNA leadership. Forums, meetings, rallies, etc are just not cutting it. I figure a strike will cost me at least $1,000/week…. I’d give up a lot on a contract to save my home & protect my family while still fighting for my profession and patients.

    signed,

    A MNA nurse who thinks this mess is a run away train and nobody has a handle on the brake!!!!

  70. Richard July 1, 2010 at 7:09 am #

    Dear husband of a nurse. I was once a young nurse. The pay was dismal. The working conditions were worse. The ability to save for retirement at the pay we got was not looking good. It was not until we gained power as a union that conditions improved. Poor working conditions had pushed nurses out of the hospital until a national nursing shortage became a crisis. Then a bidding war for our services started. Nurses could change hospitals or work in different states for dollars an hour more.

    The hospitals agreed to provide pensions. The total compensation package is meant to attract nurses and retain their services. The constant turn over of nurses from hospital to hospital is extremely costly. Studies show the cost for a new nurse is 50K. So, if you blame nurses for their pensions you must look at the employer for providing them. We could go back to the days when the doors were revolving as hospitals competed for nurses. Or, as they have chosen, a system of stability and a reward with attractive benefits. Now it seems, the hospitals want to choose to be less attractive.

    I am within sight of retirement. I am grateful to have a pension. It took me years of loyalty to accumulate that retirement. Many of those years as we struggled with low pay. You it seems, are a young man, filled with ideas and slogans that I have heard for years. But look around at your 401K’s and 403B’s. The banks saw a way that they could sack many Americans retirement. They took our money. A defined benefit is not as vulnerable to the shifting economic times. I am so grateful that my 403B is not my only retirement plan. And I am not making the employer responsible for my retirement. I am in agreement that my compensation has money put aside. We could all choose to get paid more of an hourly rate. But, I choose a pension.

    During a previous negotiation my hospital system asked to give us a greater match for our 403B. We said nurses want a better pension and we would want that money put in a better pension. We told the hospitals that a pension would help them retain nurses. The result has been turnover rates of less than 4% in some of our hospitals. We settled our most recent contract last fall during the bank failure, when everyone said, the sky is falling. That contract pays 19% increase through Oct, 2013. New grads are getting paid 42.70 with increases every 6 months. Free health plans with low Rx co-pays. Free dental, free vision. This is in the Sacramento region. The cost of living index is one point higher here than Mpls. I have to ask, are MN reimbursements so low? Does the city with the most Fortune 500 companies not insure their employees?

    No, this is not about tightening the belt. This is about breaking the nurses ability to speak for patients and their profession. There is no going back. Nurses are not about making progress and then giving power back on the whim of the latest hospital.

    It’s late and I must sleep. I am sure I rambled. I hope you got a little sense of history. I hope some day when you are old enough to retire you can and it is done partly with your very special nurse, wife.

  71. Don July 1, 2010 at 8:16 am #

    Erik,
    You can’t spell, and a lot of your facts are wrong.

    • Erik July 1, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

      Tell me how then. And spelling usually takes a turn for the worst after 11pm. :) Lets talk about what you think, what i think, and have a discussion. I’ve been asking for months.

    • Erik July 1, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

      I’m an RN, dude/dudette. I passed the NCLEX, and got my degree from the College of Saint Scholastica. Also, i LOVE what i do for a living. Working with kids with special needs and doctors. I even have a stethoscope with my name on it! OMG!

      • MNA RN July 5, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

        To Erik: (with a “k” not a “c”:

        Then some of your responses should have a little more depth and substance to them instead of being more like a wading pool than an actual body of water or knowledge.

  72. MNA RN and PROUD July 1, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    I keep reading about how the RN’s should accept lower wage increases , is this what the hopitals have come up with to take the
    focus off the issue of SAFE STAFFING?
    But remember last year these CEO’s got their raises and bonuses. At our hospitals are non union employees got a bonus in December and a 3 % raise in February.
    Don’t the RN also deserve this, they are they making the DOUGH for the CEO’s to get the thousands of dollar raises and also bonues.
    Stick together and you will be one again and united.
    If someone truely feels they need to cross the line , then so be it, but the next time they are called in hopefully they don’t look to MNA to be there representing them.

  73. Alison July 1, 2010 at 11:07 am #

    Look nurses, I agree that money is not the main issue but, if you conceed everything in the first pass you have nowhere to move. TC hospitals have not been offering to do anything but take over control of our practice and control over us. For one hour they offered to make “recommendations” to keep the pension the way it is in exchange for major concessions on our part and guarantees to them. How is that fair?
    Are you willing to accept the crumbs that they throw us? We need to stick together and support our bargaining team to get a decent contract that protects our patients and our practice. You are not going to get it if you let them divide us. Have a little faith in the bedside nurses who represent you!

  74. shelly, RN, Childrens July 1, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    Dear husband of RN: What is punishing the younger RNs? They come to work at a union hospital with a great contract built on years of contract negotiations. An RN today walks into a job with good pay, shifts that are predictable with holiday premiums and some shift differential. Do you think it has always been like that? Of course not. Each year we have bargained to make the contract better and better for RNs and their patients. Do you think these benefits will last? Did you know noncontract employees do not get paid holiday pay when they work? They had their vacation and sick time bundles about 15 years ago and changed to PTO and overall their days were reduced by 25% at that time. That RNs in the clinics (noncontract) have to take as many mandatory days/year as the hospital deems necessary? We are asking to hold onto our pention, not increase thr pension. And that several departments with Masters prepared health professionals make up to 50% less than the RN will comparable years? Is this what you want for your wife in 10 years?

  75. Outside Looking In July 1, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    I have a close friend who is an RN in a Minnesota Hospital. She lost her husband a few years ago and is now the single provider for her young family. She has voted in favor of the Union. In my communications with her she is wanted to stay loyal to the Union, but feels it is putting too much at stake here and now and maybe now isn’t the time for some of this battle. This whole situation is tearing her up, as I’m sure it is for many others. Come next week she is so fearful of the choice she is facing. While she doesn’t want to “cross” and face the condemnation from her peers, she is also having to make the decision of who is going to provide for her family? There are NOT options for assistance for her, until she would be at the point of already having lost what little she may already have! After reading some of the posts on here I can see why she is fearful of her peers….I find it somewhat interesting that people that are in the business of “caring for others” can be so heartless and threatening to their co-workers! If this process cannot come to a settlement before striking, and I for one am praying that a strike is not going to be necessary, I would encourage all you to “take the high” road in how you react to those that may cross the line. You DON’T know everyone’s situation personally. Standing united is important, however, are you also willing to help financially those who really don’t have an option but to go to work. I understand there is something the Union offers for strike compensation, but it is my understanding that this is only until all other assistance programs have been exhausted and again, everything is basically gone. Tell me you can look at your kids each night and say, sorry, I know you need new shoes, like a roof over your head and food in your tummy, but I’m afraid of making my co-workers mad, so we just have to “ride it out”.

    • MNA RN July 1, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

      There are alternatives, contact your MNA RN reps and stewards, there are funds and many many available resources available. Integrity and respect is earned. Do not sell your soul. No one ever said that doing the right thing was going to be easy. Sometimes, doing the wrong thing is just plain easier to deal with. You have to make choices that you live with for the rest of your life. Sometimes making bad choices and decisions only leads to another and another. You will always have options… you will always have choices. Not all people have integrity and character. You just need to choose what kind of person you want to be and then work on getting there.

      • married to a nurse July 1, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

        So, making the decision to cross and subsequently be harassed day in and day out by the people that you work with is “the easy decision”? How can you actually say that deciding to provide for your family/children is the equivalent to “selling your soul”. I hope you are not a parent. No matter how much one may want to support the union and their goals it should never take precedence over taking care of one’s family, if doing so places your family in jeopardy. Sometimes sacrificing things you want in the future in order to take care of the immediate, more pressing issues of today IS the right thing. These types of decisions are usually not made lightly and at times are heartbreaking. How can you possibly question this person’s integrity and character? I would think the decision to purposefully harass and intimidate someone on a daily basis would be a much harder decision to live with for the rest of your life than the decision to cross the picket line and provide for your family. You show no empathy or compassion for this women. Unfortunately for her, sounds like she can’t win no matter what she decides.

  76. dasmith July 1, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    Some of the hospitals are hiring a company called HealthSource Global, a temporary strike staffing company based in California. For those considering working for HSG, I would strongly urge you to google “HealthSource Global wages” and you’ll find that the staffing agency that is hiring these replacement nurses is NOT PAYING THEM! What a mess…

  77. RN 36 yrs July 1, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    Allina wrote it again! They said most RNs already will have a step increase of about 3% so we don’t need an across the board pay raise. Not me. Every time we pass up any kind of raise I get nothing to keep up with the rise in cost of living and inflation. Maybe they should just hold off on the step increase of pay and instead give EVERY RN a pay raise . Their goal is to entice people into the profession (and then they treat them as dispensible as they get older.) Amount of vacation tops off pretty quickly too. So take note, this will happen to everyone of you younger RNs as you stick around and build up your years of loyalty to the hospital. When you cost too much they really don’t want you any more. When you retire, you will get a measly $350 as my friend did after 40 yrs of service!

  78. Jake RN July 1, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    Outsider looking in – Well said!!!!!!!!! I am almost in the same situation as your friend, but I do have a husband that is working. Some really tough and very emotional choices here. I pray the strike never happens – maybe something good will happen at the last min and we can all take a deep breath and get on with our lives.

  79. MNA RN July 1, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    Scab Agencies
    Travel nurses beware!
    The following “scab registries” make a profit by providing scabs to employers who are trying to break strikes by registered nurses. This kind of nurse strike breaking always leads to diminished patient care at the facility and is an insult to nurses that respect their professional fight. These agencies may keep you in the dark about what kind of assignment you’re going to receive, or how difficult it will be. Some agencies have not been paying the nurses as promised. Please support your fellow RNs by refusing to accept contracts at facilities on strike, or from their agencies with a history of strike-busting!
    FASTAFF
    Health Source Global Staffing
    US Nursing/ US Nursing Corp
    Crisis Nurse
    Healthcare Contingency Staffing Services, Inc.
    Nurse Bridge
    Huffmaster Crisis Management
    Modern Staffing & Security Consultants, Inc.
    Modern Industrial Services

    • Tom July 1, 2010 at 6:28 pm #

      So you care so much for patients, that you actually don’t want them to be cared for while you go on strike?

  80. UffDa July 1, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    Anyone that is considering crossing the line, should think long and hard. You will only be prolonging the strike; is that really what you want? Also, YOU may not even have a job down the line if the TCH proposals win out. There is a strong reason why they don’t want to write ratios into the contract even though we currently have supposedly the best staffing in the country. With all the government and reimbursement changes ahead, the hospitals have big hidden plans to CHANGE staffing as we now know it. Care will be given by TEAMS; the RN will be back to the days of team leading (LPNs, aides, paramedics, and whatever new job classifications they come up with) so that is why TCH can’t lock themselves into formal ratios. RNs may have responsibility for TEAMS caring for 8 patients or more. So ultimately fewer RNs will be needed. It would behoove you to support the contract to keep your job in the future! Don’t be shortsighted; the stakes are too high.

  81. Teresa July 1, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    Hello MN RN’s,

    I support you from AZ. I was a member of the union when I lived in MN. Go MNA Go!

  82. Tiger RN July 1, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    Dear MNA RN,

    Those scab agencies that you spoke about previously allow you to continue your fight for safe staffing and patient safety. At the end of the day there are sick patients that need to be taken care of….you have business that you want to take care of…so staffing agencies that provide qualified and compassionate RN’s to provide excellent nursing care while you do your thing. TRUST, that we do not want your jobs…when you come back, it’s yours!! You are not alone with your fight for safe staffing, better pay and pension. Nurses all over the US deal with those same issues everyday….so just because someone “breaks” the picket line does not mean they are not sympathetic, it merely means they are there to do a job and not a dis-service to the patients or the MN RN’s.

    Regards

    • RN26yrs July 2, 2010 at 7:19 am #

      Well said.

    • Erik July 2, 2010 at 9:57 pm #

      Hear Hear.

    • MNA RN July 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

      No… you lie like a rug. You do it for the almighty dollar. $6,000.00-$12,000.00 at the last bounty offered up. You just try to convince yourself and anyone else that will listen to you that it is about the patients. You desperately need your aliby and self-deception so that you can continue to pretend to be a human being and fake that you have a brain or a soul. Jack London had the right definition of you. SCAB!

  83. RN26yrs July 2, 2010 at 6:20 am #

    URGENT…….MAKE SURE YOU ALL have a SUCCESSION CLAUSE IN THIS CONTRACT before you sign.
    That is how they break the unions. They know you don’t want to lose your pensions or anything you currently have but make double sure you have a succession clause no matter what other things things are in there. If you don’t, they’ve won and will sell the hospital and break to break the union. They will sell to themselves under a different name and the UNION will not succeed with the sale!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  84. Tiger RN July 6, 2010 at 5:19 am #

    Dear MNA RN,
    It seems as though you are angry at many people who may have differing opinions and don’t appreciate other peoples’ views. Well the contract that YOU and your fellow MN RN’s are supposed to ratify seems to point to the same statement that you made about me: “it’s all about the almighty dollar”. If the strike was about patient safety/safe staffing then why was an agreement reached when the only concessions made from the hospitals were regarding raises and pension, not staffing ratios? Seems a little fishy. I do have a brain and that why I choose to use it and not follow the masses, I think for myself and not echoe what I am told. Congratulations MNA RN, pot meet kettle!

    Enjoy!

  85. eric July 8, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    if 0,1,2 is greedy
    if wanting the ability to care for myself and my family is greedy
    If fighting our rights as employes, humna beings and safe patient care is greedy
    then I guess I am greedy.
    Tiger Rn you sound a lot like the commentors on the strib web site, or people on the radio and TV, and on this blog site. You are not quite the maverick individualist open minded thinker that you believe yourself to be are you!?

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