Union nurses in Duluth scheduled to hold strike voteby Bob Kelleher, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Union nurses at two Duluth hospital systems are scheduled to hold a strike vote later this week in a contract dispute that prompted a one-day nurses strike in the Twin cities last June. Bob Kelleher has more.
St. Luke's Hospital and its nurses decided last week to meet one last time with a federal mediator today.
The Minnesota Nurses Association represents just over 400 nurses there. Meanwhile St. Mary's-Duluth Clinic and its 900 nurses have no talks scheduled after a marathon session last Thursday. As in the Twin Cities, staffing levels are a key sticking point.
The union is recommending St. Mary's Duluth Clinic nurses reject the latest contract offer and approve a one-day strike. SMDC President Dr. Tom Patnoe says the hospital made a good offer.
"My hope is that our nurses who are very valued members of our care team will inform themselves and vote with their conscience, and we can avoid a strike," said Patnoe.
The union will hold a vote Wednesday that could approve a one-day strike at both facilities.
Union spokesman Steve Strand says Wednesday's vote does not guarantee a strike.
"The nurses will vote to either take the last best final offer, or if they vote no to that offer, they are authorizing the negotiating team to give notice to have a one day strike," Strand said.
Officials with the two hospital systems say they hope to avoid a strike.