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Moose Lake nurses plan to picket for ‘fair’ contract next Tuesday

Nurses at Essentia Picket for contract change
Nurses at Essentia Picket for contract change(Alex Laitala KBJR 6)
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 4:44 PM CDT
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MOOSE LAKE, MN-- Nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association at Essentia Health’s Moose Lake Hospital announced their intent to picket.

According to MNA, they will be posted outside the hospital Tuesday, June 28, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The announcement comes just a day after Twin Ports nurses stood outside the Essentia Hospital in Duluth to picket for similar reasons.

Nurses in Moose Lake are seeking a fair first contract with Essentia Health, which purchased the hospital two years ago. They claim the hospital did not recognize nurses’ existing contract.

Negotiations with Essentia are on topics like scheduling, staffing, and compensation.

“As a result of refusal by Essentia Health executives to recognize the nurses’ prior contract, Moose Lake nurses have lost bonuses, earned sick leave hours, and company retirement contributions, despite promises that the acquisition would benefit the community,” MNA reps said.

Contract negotiations have now reached two years.

Essentia spokespeople shared a statement Wednesday:

“We respect our nurses and the role they play in helping to advance Essentia Health’s mission of making a healthy difference in people’s lives. We are focusing on our discussions at the bargaining table because that is where solutions are found. Essentia will continue to negotiate in good faith and we look forward to reaching a mutually beneficial agreement.

Our nurses are valued members of our care teams at Essentia Health, and we respect their right to conduct informational picketing as part of a labor union.

Our top priority in everything we do is to continue providing our patients with the kind of expert care they expect and deserve.”

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