Largest Ever Nursing Strike Puts Patients in Distress

Thousands of nurses in Minnesota are going on a three-day-long strike to protest against their low wages and unsafe working conditions.

Minnesota saw increasing numbers of nurses resigning from their jobs after refusing to comply with the federal vaccine mandates.

Due to this mass resignation in COVID, nurses in Minnesota believe they are overburdened, which is directly impacting the lives of the patients.

Nurses’ Strike Puts Patients on the Line

In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, when the Biden administration introduced vaccine mandates for health workers, many nurses refused to get vaccinated. Eventually, those nurses were either fired or forced to resign. 

The firing of medical workers amid the pandemic intensified the healthcare crisis in Minnesota.

As hospitals observed staffing shortages, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had to transport patients to hospitals where medical staff was adequately available.

Mayo Clinic alone fired 700 staff members, which resulted in a chronic staff shortage in the healthcare company.

Now, a large number of nurses are protesting against the poor working conditions and staff shortage, which is creating more chaos in the blue state.

Reportedly, almost 15,000 nurses are going on a three-day strike in what is going to be the largest ever nurses’ strike in the history of the United States.

On Sunday night, nurses from 16 hospitals in Minnesota, particularly from twin cities of the state, started rallying. According to a nursing union, hospital executives failed to negotiate a contract with Minnesota’s nurses, which is resulting in a statewide strike.

The largest nursing union in the United States, National Nurses United, suggested Minnesota healthcare workers are demanding better working conditions and a revised nursing retention policy, which they are unable to get in the current setup.

Minnesota Nursing Crisis Unlikely to Be Resolved Soon

Another union, Minnesota Nursing Association (MNA), claimed nurses are facing the consequences of staff shortages, which is increasing their workload.

Furthermore, MNA suggested patients are getting overcharged by Minnesota’s hospitals and hospital owners. Meanwhile, executives are accumulating millions of dollars, due to the presence of corporate culture in the healthcare sector.

As per NBC News, nurses are demanding a 30% pay raise, while hospitals are only offering them a 10-12% raise.

Hospital executives believe the healthcare sector is unable to afford such a high pay raise demand, adding all the raises will have to be recovered from patients.

MNA’s spokesman, Sam Fettig, argued nurses are reluctant to go on an open strike, as they are worried about the health of patients admitted to the hospitals statewide.

While describing the increasing workload on nurses, Vice President of MNA Chris Rubesch insisted patients should only wait for a couple of minutes when they need urgent medical treatment.

However, the staffing shortage is making them wait for more than 10 minutes, which chronically impacts their health.

However, hospitals emphasized nurses should have tried to negotiate with the help of a neutral mediator before going on the strike.

This article appeared in The State Today and has been published here with permission.