The union told the newspaper that more than 87% of its members voted for a strike. The union demands fixed nurse-patient ratios, 3% annual pay raises, and no cuts to pension benefits.
However, many nurses disagree with the union's decision to call a strike. They argue that patients are better served with flexible, acuity-based staffing rather than fixed ratios, and that in times of financial strain, cut backs are to be expected.
The Star Tribune reports a local nurse started a blog to provide a voice for those who are dissatisfied with the situation, and many nurses are using it to counteract the union's claims of unsafe staffing. On its first day in operation—the same day the strike was announced—the blog received 5,000 page views.
Union and hospital officials are set to return to the negotiating tables this week in an effort to reach an agreement before July 6 arrives. All sides are hoping for agreement.
Moody's says that even non-union hospitals will face financial pressures if a strike is called. As affected hospitals decrease census and limit procedures, non-union hospitals will face capacity challenges—and the need to bring in temporary nurses—as they struggle to meet the Twin Cities population's healthcare needs.