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15K Minnesota nurses could strike again

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Some 15,000 nurses at 15 hospitals in Minnesota could strike again following a previous three-day strike in September.

Nurses across seven systems walked off the job but failed to reach a deal on new contracts and returned to work shortly after. On Nov. 30, they’ll vote on whether to authorize another strike.

The hospitals and nurses have been in negotiations for new contracts since March, with nurses campaigning for measures to improve pandemic-driven staffing shortages, turnover and retention issues — a sticking point for healthcare labor unions this year.

The Minnesota nurses have highlighted the nonprofit status of the seven systems they work for and now are pointing to how CEO compensation compares to that of most nurses.

At M Health Fairview, CEO James Hereford earns $3.5 million a year, about 40 times more than the average registered nurse at the system, according to a release from the Minnesota Nurses Association.

Essentia Health CEO David Herman earns $2.69 million a year, about 38 times more than registered nurses in the system, according to that release.

Neither hospital responded to requests to confirm the CEOs’ salaries.

When nurses waged their September strike, the systems hired replacement staff to keep operations afloat, with some staffing firms advertising roles paying $7,980 to $10,640 for a 60-hour work week.

At hospitals in the Twin Cities, nurses’ contracts expired May 31. At Twin Ports hospitals, nurses’ contracts expired June 30.

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