Minnesota nurses authorize second strike at 16 hospitals

15,000 nurses in Twin City and Duluth areas set to strike on Dec. 11

Thousands of nurses are set to walk out of at 16 hospitals in Minnesota in a second authorized strike on Dec. 11 if union leaders and hospitals cannot reach a contract deal.

The Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) said the walkouts will last until Dec. 31 at most hospitals in the Twin City and Duluth areas, with nurses at St. Luke’s hospitals in Duluth and Two Harbors set to remain on strike until a deal is reached.

Leaders of the association hope the vote will motivate hospital leadership to improve offers on pay, workplace violence prevention and staffing levels.

"Because I know where our power lies," Mary Turner, president of the MNA, told FOX9 Minneapolis. "And the only power we have is 15,000 nurses standing together for our patients. That's the only power that we have as workers. So I have my hopes, but I am not one to assume."

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Angela Becchetti, a registered nurse from Abbott Northwestern- Alina, speaks at a press conference announcing the intent for the nurses to strike Thursday, Dec.1, 2022 at the Minnesota Nurses Association in St. Paul, Minn. 

Angela Becchetti, a registered nurse from Abbott Northwestern- Alina, speaks at a press conference announcing the intent for the nurses to strike Thursday, Dec.1, 2022 at the Minnesota Nurses Association in St. Paul, Minn.  (Alex Kormann/Star Tribune via AP)

Amy McGlone, a pediatric intensive care nurse at Children’s Minnesota in St. Paul, told the Star Tribune that her hospital is "on life support" and urged "change" and "improved staffing."

"We’ve been begging for help for two years; it’s fallen on deaf ears," McGlone told the paper.

Nearly 15,000 nurses had previously walked out for a three-day strike in September amid contract talks.

Angela Becchetti, a registered nurse from Abbott Northwestern- Alina, speaks at a press conference announcing the intent for the nurses to strike Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022 at the Minnesota Nurses Association in St. Paul, Minn.

Angela Becchetti, a registered nurse from Abbott Northwestern- Alina, speaks at a press conference announcing the intent for the nurses to strike Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022 at the Minnesota Nurses Association in St. Paul, Minn. (Alex Kormann/Star Tribune via AP)

Allina Health spokesperson Conny Bergerson said in a statement that Allina is disappointed that a strike notice was issued "when our community is experiencing a triple threat of illnesses — influenza, RSV and COVID — and before they have exhausted all available options to reach agreement." 

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Bergerson said hospitals are under "unprecedented stress."

Hospitals involved in the contract talks include Allina’s Abbott Northwestern, Mercy and United hospitals, along with North Memorial Health in Robbinsdale, HealthPartners’ Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Children’s Minnesota, and M Health Fairview’s Southdale and St. John’s hospitals along with the West Bank campus of the University of Minnesota Medical Center.

Essentia hospitals in Duluth and Superior are also involved, along with the two St. Luke’s hospitals.

The involved Twin Cities hospitals, other than Allina, issued a written statement saying they will stay open during a potential 10-day strike, though non-critical procedures may need to be rescheduled. 

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Patients with urgent needs were told to continue to call 911 or go to emergency rooms but may see longer wait times.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.