Talks between nurses, hospitals make 'zero progress'by Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
Minneapolis — The spokesman for the Minnesota Nurses Association said in an email that "zero progress" has been made between representatives from 14 Twin Cities hospitals and their nurses, as the two sides work to avoid a one-day nurse strike.
"Hospitals have not put across any new or updated offers related to the contracts we rejected on May 19," said John Nemo, spokesman for the nurses union.
Federal mediators were doing all of the talking, Nemo said, adding that no face to face talks had happened yet.
Staffing issues and pension cuts are the main sticking points.
NURSES GET READY FOR STRIKE
At the same time, nurses are attending meetings Wednesday and Thursday to learn more about the June 10 strike.
Marie Cassidy, a nurse at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, got her briefing at the Minnesota Nurses Association headquarters in St. Paul.
Cassidy said nurses had questions about whether their health insurance would remain in effect during a strike, and whether hospitals could lock them out when the strike is over.
"We're just planning on showing up and if they need us, they either take us all or lock us all," Cassidy said. "If we do end up going out on strike, that's what's gonna happen."
Cassidy said the nurses union told members that their health insurance is paid up through June.
Carol Casci is scheduled to work the last shift at St. John's Hospital in Maplewood the night before the strike. She will have to hand off her duties to replacement nurses.
"I've talked to my union reps and stuff and they just say make sure you report off to the oncoming nurse and if you can't find a nurse, find a clinical manager, give your report and walk out. And don't look back," Casci said. "So I'll get a sign and just keep walking."
Casci said she'll immediately join the picket line outside of her hospital.
- All Things Considered, 06/02/2010, 4:45 p.m.