SDW news brief: Division among Twin Cities nurses over whether to strike

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, July 2, 2010

The temperature is rising in the dispute between the Minnesota Nurses Union and Twin Cities Hospitals. The union said it will begin an open-ended strike on July 6 if a deal is not reached with six local hospital systems. The 12,000-member union is threatening what would be the largest nursing strike in the nation's history.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports division among Twin Cities nurses over whether the strike is appropriate. The union told the newspaper that more than 87% of its members voted for a strike. The union demands fixed nurse-patient ratios, 3% annual pay raises, and no cuts to pension benefits.

However, many nurses disagree with the union's decision to call a strike. They argue that patients are better served with flexible, acuity-based staffing rather than fixed ratios, and that in times of financial strain, cut backs are to be expected.

The Star Tribune reports a local nurse started a blog to provide a voice for those who are dissatisfied with the situation, and many nurses are using it to counteract the union's claims of unsafe staffing. On its first day in operation—the same day the strike was announced—the blog received 5,000 page views.

Source: HealthLeaders Media

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