June 21, 2016 From Labor Notes
Sometimes solidarity comes shaped like a popsicle. That’s what one nursing assistant, on her way in for the evening shift at United Hospital in St. Paul, delivered to nurses picketing in blazing 95-degree heat.
Five thousand members of the Minnesota Nurses (MNA) walked out June 19, kicking off a weeklong strike at five Allina hospitals in the Twin Cities. The immediate sticking point is health insurance, but this is also a showdown over nurses’ power on the job, as Allina pushes to hand over staffing decisions to a robot.
The company’s unwillingness to budge an inch “leads me to believe they really are trying to get rid of the union,” said 30-year nurse Gail Olson, a bargaining team member. “For patient safety sometimes we slow things down. They don’t want to tolerate it anymore.”