Minnesota Nurses Strike Determination Continues

Minnesota Nurses Association is in confrontation with the Twin Cities Hospital Managements. The main issue is negotiation of the contract, which failed resulting in to one day strike.

The negotiations were started by both the Minnesota Hospitals and nurses union, but the hospital insisting for “No strike till 31st July” was considered by the nurses union as tactics of hospital gaining time to make interim arrangement. The proposed strike is now imminent.

The scene is very hot and full of hectic activities at the hospitals as well as in the camps of striking nurses.

In the mean time thousands of replacements are lining up at the scene ready to join. The impending strike can be harmful to both the warring factions i.e. the Hospital Managements and striking nurses. The winner can be who is able to hit hard and cause maximum loss to the other side. If the accord on contract agreement is not reached 12000 twin city nurses shall proceed for strike on July 6.

Arranging Replacement Nurses:

The availability of replacement nurses through nursing agencies is the strength on which the hospitals are banking upon for the time being. During the last strike on June 10, 2010 the hospitals mobilized 2800 nurses to keep the activities of the hospital going.

According to Maureen Cloutier ‘one of the nurse ready for reaching Minnesota to join as a replacement nurse’ who is based at Florida, stated she is ready waiting for a call and she has packed every thing and ready to fly to Minnesota. About 4000 nurses are holding temporary work permits as per information available from Minnesota Board of Nursing.

The activity of issue of temporary work permits is taking place since May, 1, 2010 and majority of the work permits are issued to persons not belonging to Minnesota. A little more than 50 % work permits are issued to inhabitants of southern states. There is a warning to the replacement nurses by the striking nurses that the things at Minnesota are going to turn worst and there are no charms one can expect. Warning remarks are posted on facebook accounts of the replacement nurses ready to move in to benefit from the strike imbroglio. 

Statement of a Replacement Nurse:

Cloutier one of the replacement nurse has been signed with Health Source Global Staffing, one of the nurse agencies, which has come forward to supply replacement nurse to 14 Minnesota Hospitals affected by the nurse’s strike. According to Health sources information spread to it’s replacement nurses that they can make $5300 in a week with free air and hotel rooms to stay. The plans are to fly the Nurses on July, 3, 2010 to the twin cities.

Cloutier has spent 32 years in nursing and is presently working as a fill in nurse at the Florida based hospital, where there are no unions. She was unaware of the situation of inadequate staffing at Minnesota. She has the impression that Minnesota nurses feel that they are working very hard.

She felt that Minnesota Nurses are not trying to view the other aspect like hit by the economy, every one loses something. The nurse Union are rumoring that the Hospitals are paying much more to the Nurse agencies as compared to the amount paid to replacement nurses is just a fraction of what a nurse agency gets out of the deal.

Reaction of Nurses & Observers:

Nellie Munn a nurses Union leader representing negotiations a replacement nurse just costs double the amount because persons coming are required to give labor coverage and there is lot of difficulty in recruiting them.

 Although by spending lot of money strike breaking is tried, the objective is not likely to succeed, because the replacement nurses are lacking in experience and can not be replacement for long experienced nurses.

 According to University of Minnesota labor specialist that the Hospitals require around replacement 6500 nurses for taking over the functions of the hospitals, in case they perform more tan 60 hours duty per week.

The available nurses although less experienced are not at all fit to handle the situations, for which they are being recruited.

On the other hand the affected Hospitals maintain that they shall be in a position to manage the show with the replacement nurses and shall look after safety of the patients more carefully.

The Hospitals are not divulging the information about the cost of these replacement nurses to the hospitals. Occasional remarks one can get saying fighting the strike in any case is less expensive than meeting the nurse’s union contract demands.

The cost of the strike is much less than one agrees to add expenses in millions without improvement in the quality caring.

According to market experts with the strike taking place, there shall be reduction in the number of patients affecting revenues generation. 1 % increase in the nursing cost shall affect the hospital by around 25 % in the face of falls in revenues generation.

Albany school of Public Health is of the opinion that getting new trained nurses is not any problem, but the experienced nurses are difficult to find.

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