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Minn. nurses, hospitals reach deal to avert strike


By Joe Carlson
Posted: July 1, 2010 - 4:45 pm ET
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Days before a threatened walkout of more than 12,000 hospital nurses on July 6, the Minnesota Nurses Association and management at 14 hospitals have announced a proposed contract settlement. The announcement would avert what was being billed as the largest nurse strike ever in the U.S.

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An announcement released by the hospitals and confirmed by the union says the two sides have reached agreement on terms for new collective-bargaining agreements through negotiations overseen by the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service. The proposed agreement has been approved by negotiating committees for all 14 hospitals, but union members must still vote to ratify the contracts.

Regarding the key sticking point of the union’s demands for rigid nurse-patient staffing ratios, the hospitals said in a written release that the two sides “have agreed to a renewed commitment to working through both parties’ staffing issues through the exiting committee systems at the various hospitals.”

The nurses went on a 24-hour strike on June 10, but the move did not sway hospitals to the union’s demands that the hospitals staff for 100% patient capacity at all times while agreeing to divert patients when the hospitals reach 90% capacity.

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