About 15,000 nurses working at sixteen hospitals in Minnesota and Wisconsin in North America began a three-day strike on Monday to demand better working conditions.
The Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA), which is organizing the movement, said it was the largest private-sector nurse strike the country had ever seen.
Holding placards reading “Patients Before Profits,” groups of employees gathered early in the morning in front of some of the companies involved, according to photos and videos released by the group.
An AFP spokesperson confirmed that the movement began at 7am local time and will continue until Thursday.
Hospitals plan to continue treatment, with possible disruptions.
North Memorial Health Hospital, located in Robbinsdale, said on its website that it “must make some changes to emergency care and services to ensure adequate staffing and complete safety during the strike.” But he will continue a precedent to respect appointments and already scheduled procedures.
The two sides negotiated for more than 5 months but no agreement was reached.
“Right now in Minnesota, nurses are overworked, hospitals are understaffed, and patients are overcharged,” MNA said in a statement.
The union says it wants to address staffing issues while hospital managers want to focus only on salaries.
A group representing hospitals, for its part, says it has proposed salary increases of 10% to 12% over three years, while nurses are asking for 27% to 30% raises.
Hospitals argues that “with the constant evolution of healthcare, everyone working in healthcare must adapt to the way we serve people.”
Strikes have been routinely called in the U.S. for more than a year by workers fed up with long hours and frustrated with their employers’ profits since the pandemic began.
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