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"Disappointed" health care workers and hospitals prepare for nurses' strike Monday

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. — On Monday, approximately 15,000 nurses plan to strike in Minnesota, in what could be the largest nurses strike in U.S. history. Contract negotiations fell short this weekend prompting the three-day strike. 

“I’m feeling disappointed,” Methodist Hospital nurse Victoria Zeehandelaar said.

Victoria Zeehandelaar is planning to picket outside her workplace on Monday with her colleagues. Sixteen hospitals across seven healthcare systems will be impacted by the strike. 

Paul Omodt, a spokesperson for Twin Cities Hospital group, which includes Children’s Minnesota, North Memorial Health, Fairview Health, and Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital, said thousands of nurses from around the country will work during the strike to keep the hospitals open and running as close to normal as possible. 

“We are starting with new people who have and will be getting trained in, we should expect some delays at our hospitals, we should expect some hiccups because it’s just the nature of the business on any day,” Omodt said.

Allina Health said patients will be contacted directly if their appointments change during the strike.  

“While we are making every effort to minimize disruptions to patient care, our hospitals continue to be full, and we are preparing to make the necessary adjustments to ensure we are meeting the community’s emergent and on-going health care needs,” a spokesperson said.

The Minnesota Nurses Association and hospitals are at odds over a number of issues, from wages, to staffing and safety. 

“What they are asking for, the wage increases are not something the hospitals can afford,” Omodt said.

Zeehandelaar said the economics is not the main issue at hand. 

“We are not striking because of our wages we are striking because we want to make sure our patients have the best quality care they can and the foundation of that is proper staffing levels,” she said.

Nurses from various healthcare systems will begin the strike at 7 a.m. Monday morning. They will picket outside the hospitals until evening throughout the duration of the strike. 

Minnesota Nurses Association President Mary Turner spoke to WCCO Sunday morning.

Source: CBS Minnesota

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