Sep 15, 2022 - News

Minnesota nurses return to work after three-day strike

nurses on strike
Nurses at Children's Minnesota and United Hospital in St. Paul were among those on strike. Photo: John Autey/MediaNews Group/St. Paul Pioneer Press via Getty Images

Thousands of Minnesota nurses are going back to work.

Driving the news: A three-day strike that led some 15,000 Minnesota nurses to walk off the job over stalled contract negotiations with hospitals ends at 7am Thursday morning.

The big picture: There are no signs the two sides are any closer to a resolution than when the strike began.

  • It remains to be seen whether the public pressure from the action, which organizers say was one of the largest nurses' strikes in U.S. history, moves the needle.

State of play: Nurses want 30% pay raises over three years and commitments on staffing and retention practices. Hospitals, which have offered closer to 10%, say the proposals are unworkable and unaffordable.

  • No new talks occurred during the strike.

What they're saying: Union leaders said Wednesday that they won't drop their demands for higher pay and more say in staffing.

  • "We don't have any alternative but to go into round two of this war," Minnesota Nurses Association President Mary C. Turner told reporters yesterday. "And that's what I call it, because we're fighting for our very existence."

The intrigue: When asked if "round two" meant a second strike, Turner quipped: "I'm not going to answer that, sir, that's not legal."

The other side: Paul Omodt, a spokesperson for four Twin Cities hospitals, said the union's demands on nurse discipline and pay increases are non-starters.

What to watch: Twin Cities hospitals have offered times to negotiate next week and coordination is "in the process," Omodt said.

  • No talks had been confirmed as of last night, but a MNA spokesperson said nurses "stand ready to get back to negotiations."

🎧 Go deeper: Listen to "Axios Today" for more on the nurses' strike.

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