Between September 12th through 14th 2022, approximately 15,000 nurses walked off their jobs to protest dire circumstances threatening the Minnesota healthcare system. This three-day event involved 16 Minnesota hospitals and was the largest strike of private-sector nurses in the history of the United States.
This historic event sheds a bright light on some of the most pressing challenges facing the nursing profession, including understaffing and long, burdensome hours. Although the strike has ended, the Minnesota Nurses Association is continuing to negotiate for a fair contract with their employers.
Healthcare workers face significant challenges in today’s hospitals, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of healthcare employees has decreased drastically, leading to chronic understaffing that has left nurses with unmanageable workloads. In fact, the Minnesota Nurses Association reported a 300% increase in reports of unsafe staffing practices at Minnesota hospitals.
At the same time, demand for medical services has increased as patients delayed medical care due to the overpopulation of hospitals caused by people seeking care for COVID-19. Understaffing in healthcare facilities not only affects the quality of nurses’ well-being, but it also leads to worse outcomes for patients. Many deaths and complications are preventable and caused by a nurse being overworked.
Despite these challenges, nurses have not been compensated fairly for their work or received the resources they need to alleviate overstaffing issues. All of these challenges led to the Minnesota nursing strike of 2022.
The nurses involved in the strike had been working without a contract since May 31st, 2022. For five months prior to the event, they had been negotiating with hospitals over issues of pay, staffing, patient care quality, and staff retention. Despite these persistent negotiations, the hospital system refused to agree to a fair contract, causing the Minnesota Nurses Association to vote to authorize a strike.
The strike took place over a three-day period with 15,000 nurses representing 16 Minnesota hospitals. The nurses demanded several provisions, including a 27% to 30% increase in wages over three years, better hospital security, and the hiring of more staff. As of October 2022, the nurses and their hospitals have still not reached an agreement, but the parties report being hopeful that negotiations will be successful.
Healthcare workers face many obstacles in Minnesota, including understaffing, unfair labor practices, and workplace injuries. In fact, many healthcare workers are denied workers’ compensation claims for those injuries. If you find yourself in this situation, you need an attorney who can fight to protect your rights.
Minnesota healthcare workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured at work. A workers’ compensation lawyer can assist with these claims and appeal the insurance company’s decision if necessary. Contact an attorney as soon as possible following your injury to discuss your next steps.