Some 15,000 nurses working in sixteen hospitals in Minnesota and Wisconsin, in the northern United States, began a three-day strike on Monday to demand better working conditions. This is the largest private sector nurses’ strike ever in the country, says the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA), which is organizing the movement.
Holding up signs like “Patients before profits“, groups of employees gathered in the early morning to demonstrate in front of some of the establishments concerned, according to photos and videos posted by the group. A spokesperson confirmed to AFP that the movement had started at 7 a.m. local time and was expected to last until Thursday at the same time. Hospitals have planned to continue providing care, with possible disruptions.
The North Memorial Health Hospital, located in Robbinsdale, indicates on its website that it may be required to do “some adjustments for non-emergency care and services to ensure an adequate level of staff and to work safely during the strike“but that he will continue a priori to honor the appointments and the procedures already planned. The two sides have been negotiating for more than five months without reaching an agreement. “Right now in Minnesota nurses are overworked, hospitals are understaffed and patients are overcharged“, laments in a press release MNA.
The union says it wants to find solutions to the problems of understaffing when hospital managers only want to focus on salaries. A group representing hospitals, for its part, claims to have proposed salary increases ranging from 10% to 12% over three years when nurses are asking for 27% to 30%. Hospitals claim that with “the constant evolution of healthcare, everyone who works in healthcare must adapt to the way we serve people“. Strikes have been called regularly in the United States for more than a year by workers tired of long hours since the start of the pandemic and frustrated with the profits of their employers.