Nurses will vote on contract offerby Tom Robertson, Minnesota Public Radio
Bemidji, Minn. — About 230 nurses employed at Sanford Bemidji Hospital will vote Thursday on whether to accept or reject a contract offer from hospital management.
The Minnesota Nurses Association bargaining team recommends its members reject the offer. A "no" vote would authorize a strike, union officials said. Nurses have been without a contract since February.
Peter Danielson, a member of the bargaining team, said nurses do not want to strike.
"That's the last thing we want to do. We'd love to be voting to ratify a contract, but we've been given a contract that we can't accept, Danielson said.
However, accepting the offer would mean major concessions from nurses, Danielson said. The offer would require nurses to pay more for health care and makes major changes to pension plans. Hospital officials said in a written statement that the offer was fair and based on current economic conditions.
"We are hoping that a vote on this will be enough to move management back to the table to negotiate with us and get us away from these absolutes of take it or leave it," Danielson said.