Nurses, hospitals blame each other for lack of progress in negotiationsby Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Twin Cities Hospitals say the nurses' union is more focused on pursuing a strike than returning to the bargaining table.
Last Wednesday, an overwhelming majority of nurses rejected new contract offers from the 14 hospitals and authorized a one-day strike. The nurses are demanding better staffing and they oppose cuts to their pension.
Maureen Schriner, a spokeswoman for Twin Cities Hospitals, says the hospitals want to avoid a strike, but the nurses union has made no attempt to contact the hospitals in nearly a week.
"You know we still have time to negotiate a contract settlement. But we continue to hear the union talking only about a strike and not trying to negotiate," Schriner said. "And I mean really that is all we're hearing right now."
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the nurses union says the hospitals are being disingenuous with the public. John Nemo says it's up to the hospitals to ask the nurses to return to the bargaining table.
"We stated emphatically on May 19 where we stand with their contract proposals and literally have not heard anything from the hospitals since," Nemo said. "So I don't know if they lost our phone number or if they think the media can maybe contact us."
Schriner says the union has demanded inflexible new work rules that would cost hospitals at least $250 million dollars. The union insists its staffing proposals would save hospitals money.