Metro nurses to strike again July 6

Without a finalized contract, nurses will begin an indefinite strike.

Kyle Potter

The last three weeks appear to have done nothing to ease tensions between 12,000 metro area nurses and their hospitals.
The Minnesota Nurses Association announced early Friday they will strike July 6 if a new contract isn’t finalized beforehand, setting the stage for an open-ended walkout that could dwarf the one-day strike on June 10.
That announcement came hours after negotiators from MNA and the 14-hospital system met at the bargaining table for the first time since June 4, again joined by a federal mediator.
Details of that negotiation session have been kept under wraps at the request of the federal mediator. A “media blackout” helps to keep both sides focused on negotiations rather than on their public message, hospital spokeswoman Maureen Schriner said.
But in a statement posted on its blog, MNA said bargaining proved fruitless yet again.
“Our nurses spent more than 13 hours today doing our best to stay hopeful about negotiations,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, zero progress was made.”
 MNA negotiators asked to meet again over the weekend, but the federal mediator scheduled the next bargaining session for June 29.
After voting June 21 to authorize a second strike, the union promised to delay giving a strike notice so long as “meaningful, productive negotiations” continued.
Hospitals are not responsible for the nurses’ decision to strike again, Schriner said.
“It’s the union that is setting the time frame for a strike, not us,” she said.
Both sides met again Tuesday, but no comment was available as of press time.
Although there was no development from last Thursday’s meeting, MNA spokesman John Nemo is still convinced the strike — just six days away — can be avoided.
“That has been our nurses’ goal from the beginning,” he said.
But while both sides continue to blame one another for lack of progress, it’s unclear whether that hope can become a reality.