In what may be the largest ever strike of its kind, 12,000 Twin Cities nurses have walked off the job at 14 area hospitals in a 24-hour strike over pay, pensions and staffing ratios. Outside Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis, they greeted the day with a rendition of "Amazing Grace."
The hospitals have shipped in 2,800 replacement nurses, as well as extra doctors, nurse practitioners and other health care delivery pros to try and cover for the walkout, and says that ERs and birthing centers won't be affected by the strike. Estimated cost to the hospitals: $4.5 million.
Two of the largest hospitals in the area are not affected by the strike: Regions Hospital in St. Paul and Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. Here are the hospitals that are affected:
- Abbott Northwestern Hospital
- Bethesda Hospital
- Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, Minneapolis
- Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota St. Paul
- Fairview Southdale Hospital
- Mercy Hospital
- North Memorial Medical Center
- Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital
- Phillips Eye Institute
- Riverside campus of University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview
- St. John's Hospital
- St. Joseph's Hospital
- United Hospital
- Unity Hospital
Here's some video via The Uptake:
Gov. Tim Pawlenty has taken a hands-off approach to the strike. DFL candidates for governor Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Matt Entenza and Mark Dayton plan to show up and picket alongside the striking nurses at different times and places during the day. Republican candidate Tom Emmer is siding with hospital management.
Behind the strike: The National Nurses United, a relatively new organization that has taken an aggressive tack against hospitals trying to improve their balance sheets through trimmed pension plans and staffing levels that heap more work on already stressed-out nurses.