St. Paul, Minnesota — Today, 15,000 nurses across the Twin Cities and Duluth went on strike. Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman released the following statement:
“Nurses have been asking for safe staffing levels at the bargaining table and at the state legislature for years. They have been on the frontlines during this pandemic, and staffing levels were in crisis long before COVID. Hospitals have been willing to pay independent contractors to come in and work at very high hourly rates, yet continue to refuse to increase staffing levels. This is unacceptable. Nurses are overworked, and they face the risk of being injured by workplace violence because of unsafe staffing levels. Our hospitals are understaffed and patients and nurses pay the price.
“Hospitals should be at the negotiating table with nurses every minute of every day until a fair contract agreement is reached. Nurses do not want to be on strike — they want to be at the bedside providing care — and they should not face any retaliation or adverse actions for exercising their right to strike.
“I'm hopeful that hospital leadership will recommit to listening to nurses in negotiations, and that they will reach contract agreements very soon that respect nurses' voices in the workplace and that adopt staffing levels that are in the best interest of patients and nurses.”