U nurses not involved in pending strike

by Maggie Hessel-Mial

While area nurses, hospitals and the Minnesota Nursing Association seek a compromise to avoid an impending nurses strike, University staff and students might remain unaffected, regardless of the outcome.

Boynton Health Service and Fairview Hospital-University campus nurses are not a part of the MNA union and will not be involved should the union strike. The Fairview Hospital-Riverside and Southdale campuses are included, however, in the hospitals under the threat.

“Boynton nurses made a choice to not be a part of the MNA,” said Sheryl Daubenberger, nurse manager at Boynton.

Joanne Disch, University School of Nursing professor, said Boynton’s nurses are not unionized because it is a clinic. Most area clinics are not affected by the labor disputes.

“Many of the nursing staff – excluding the registered nurses – are a part of a different union: the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees,” Daubenberger said. “But registered nurses at Boynton are not unionized.”

The hospitals involved in the labor disputes and the MNA are working together with the Minnesota Hospital and Healthcare Partnership to reach a decision on the issue before the June 1 deadline.

Minnesota law requires that nurses give 10 days notice before going on strike. Nurses from the 12 area hospitals threatening to strike gave notices Monday which will expire at 5:30 a.m. on June 1.

“We are working to have the hospitals sit down with the MNA on Thursday to listen to the important issues and to help them reach a resolution in a timely way,” said Shireen Gandhi-Kozel, assistant vice president of MHHP.

All sides of this issue are anxious to resolve their differences before the June 1 deadline, Gandhi-Kozel said.

Cherish Hagen, assistant public relations representative for the MNA, said she agrees.

“The MNA is hoping to negotiate this (issue) before it goes to strike,” Hagen said. “But it is unclear what that result will be.”

“The main issue to be resolved is that the hospitals are not agreeing to the contract that the nurses have come up with. Without a resolution, there’s a problem.”

The MNA provides representation for nurses and has a department specializing in practice, education and policy issues that nurses can contact with questions.

Nurses find it easier to negotiate for higher salaries and safe staffing ratios with a union, Hagen said.

“Nurses decide for themselves if they want to represent. Together, we’re stronger,” she said.

John Budd, Carlson School of Management professor and labor relations expert, is confident the issue will be resolved before the deadline.

North Memorial hospital, once one of the hospitals involved in the dispute, resolved its issue with a
settlement, Budd said.

“The (North Memorial) settlement gives precedent for other hospitals to improve their settlement,” he said. “It serves as a framework for the other hospitals in the dispute.”


Maggie Hessel-Mial welcomes comments at [email protected]