Photo: Nurses’ union leaders announce strike. Liberation photo
In what has been called the largest private-sector nurses’ strike in U.S. history, 15,000 nurses across 16 hospitals in Minnesota will strike for three days beginning Sept. 12. The strike comes after five months of negotiations that have not resulted in a contract due to the hospital executives’ refusal to adequately address long-standing issues with short-staffing, retention and quality patient care.
In a live stream announcement of the strike by the Minnesota Nurses Association, one of the nurses, Brianna Hnath, shared, “It is the nurses and our fellow healthcare workers that have ensured the profitability of North Memorial [Hospital], allowing our CEO to make over $1.4 million in 2020, which was a 12.2% increase from 2019. They continue to tell us they don’t have the money or the means to agree to various proposals, but the fact is they do. I along with 15,000 nurses across Minnesota are ready to do what it takes to ensure we can provide not only safe patient care, but excellent patient care.”
Hnath also spoke of 14 hour wait times in her hospital’s emergency room, and cautioned that if hospitals refuse to make the necessary changes, waiting 14 hours to be admitted to the emergency room could become the new normal. Each speaker emphasized that the goal of the strike is to provide the nurses with what they need to ensure quality patient care.
Hnath went on to add, “We are ready to stand together and fight this fight to preserve our noble profession. I have never been so proud to be a nurse, and we all look forward to taking care of our patients because we know that nurses put the health in health care and we will continue to fight to put patients before profits.”
This historic strike is part of a larger trend of workers fighting back against capitalist greed and exploitation. All across the country workers are organizing their workplaces and collectively bargaining for dignity and respect on the job.