Nurses Picket at Robbinsdale Hospital
Twin Cities nurses walked the picket lines Thursday, including those who work at North Memorial Health Hospital, a Level 1 trauma center in Robbinsdale.
Nurses are pushing for a new collective bargaining agreement. Their main concern is workplace safety. One of those marching was Sen. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center, who is also a nurse.
“Nurses just aren’t safe on the job anymore,” Eaton said. “They’re getting injured. They’re getting assaulted and something needs to be done whether it’s increased staffing or putting more security in the units.”
“There’s a lot more violence in here than you would think,” said Barb Warren-Bloms, a nurse at North Memorial Health. “We’ve had to confiscate guns and knives out of patients and visitors bags.”
Hospital Hopeful of New Contract “Soon”
The Minnesota Nurses Association estimates that 300 employees joined the picket line. They were vocal about getting better benefits, extra staffing and higher pay.
But a key question remains for nurses is whether management is listening.
“They’re saying that they don’t have the money to put in toward the things that we think we need,” Warren-Bloms said, “like staffing, and education and workplace violence.”
Hospital officials declined an on-camera interview request, but gave CCX News an emailed response that said “they have been negotiating with the nurses union since March.” They are hopeful both sides can agree on a new contract “soon.”
The nurses existing collective bargaining agreement expires June 1. However, officials with the Minnesota Nurses Association say there will be no strike as long as negotiations continue.