Nurses await negotiations before second strikeby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Members of the Minnesota Nurses Association gathered for a picnic and speeches in St. Paul on Saturday, one day after their union announced a July 6 deadline for an open-ended strike if negotiators fail to reach an agreement on a contract.
The 12,000 nurses and 14 hospitals are at odds primarily over staffing, pay and benefit issues.
Annalee Brown, an Abbot Northwestern nurse at the picnic, says not knowing what will happen is stressful.
"I live check-to-check, I'm a single woman, and I have a home and I have very little resources. I think the mental strain -- it gets to be unbearable," Brown said.
Others say they have been preparing for this, and are able to withstand the stress of not knowing in order to maintain their jobs.
Heather Jax, a nurse at United Hospital in St. Paul, says she's been trying to save up in case the union declares a walkout.
"I'll be able to stand a few weeks. Of course I'm concerned and it will effect me adversely but I'm prepared for it. I've been picking up as much shifts as I possibly can," Jax said.
Despite both sides accusing the other of not budging, negotiations are scheduled to resume on Tuesday.