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Vol. 74/No. 25      June 28, 2010

Nurses in Minnesota protest
cutbacks in 1-day walkout
ST. PAUL, Minnesota—Carrying picket signs saying, “Patients before Profits” and “Safe Staffing Now,” more than 12,000 union nurses walked off the job here June 10 in a one-day strike at 14 hospitals. Their central demand is a fixed nurse-to-patient ratio. While walking the picket lines, Missy Larson and Andrea Siluk, both nurses at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, said the hospitals are demanding that nurses work faster with less help. Understaffing is a real problem, they emphasized.

Both were very angry at the hospital’s demand that nurses be "flexible." Larson said, “This means that we would need to float from one department to another. Nursing today is highly specialized; we would not know how to provide proper care to a patient in another unit, such as the Intensive Care Unit.”

The striking nurses are members of the Minnesota Nurses Association, which is affiliated with National Nurses United (NNU). The union has adopted a goal of winning strict staffing ratios in each local contract.

Nurses here overwhelmingly rejected the contract proposed by hospitals by 90 percent May 19. In addition to their demand for maximum “flexibility” in staffing, the hospitals are also demanding cuts in health benefits and pensions.

Eleven thousand members of the California Nurses Association, also affiliated to NNU, had planned a one-day strike over nurse-patient ratios, but a judge issued an injunction against it.
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Real face of health-care ‘reform’
Striking Spirit pilots demand wage parity with other airlines  
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