Below are updates on the 2019 nurse contract negotiations, providing additional information on the dialogue we are having with nurses and the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA). We will continue to share appropriate updates as conversations progress.

Fairview Health Services, HealthEast and Methodist Hospital Reach Tentative Contract Agreements with Nurses

Fairview, HealthEast and Methodist have reached tentative agreements on new three year contracts that are fair and equitable. These agreements represent advances in workplace safety, wages and other key issues, and allow hospitals and nurses to continue to provide the very best care to patients every day, together.

Summary for June 14, 2019 | HealthEast Negotiations

The HealthEast bargaining team met again with the Minnesota Nurses Association on Friday. The discussions were positive and both parties moved closer together but didn’t quite reach an overall agreement before ending in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Together, through the mediator, both parties agreed to limit sharing the details of the discussions as they focus on scheduling another meeting, hopefully yet this week.

Children’s Minnesota and Minnesota Nurses Reach Tentative Contract Agreement

Children’s Minnesota and the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) today reached a tentative agreement on a new three year contract. The following is a statement from Katie Penson, Senior Director of Clinical Services — Critical Care, Children’s Minnesota:

“We are pleased that we have reached a tentative agreement on a new three year contract with MNA nurses. Children’s has come to the bargaining table each time in good faith, and both sides have accomplished a lot over the last several bargaining sessions. We have improved workplace safety, boosted wages, and agreed to improvements on other issues recognizing the important work nurses do for Children’s every day. Our goal from the start was to come to an agreement that works for everyone. We successfully accomplished this, while at the same time ensuring that care for our patients and families remains best-in-class.”

Summary for June 13, 2019

Methodist Hospital and the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) met for our ninth round of negotiations yesterday. We had two federal mediators with us for this round. Although the tone of the day was positive, and we continued to close the wage gap, we did not reach an agreement. MNA started the day at 12.75% over three years, and ended with a proposal of 10% over three years plus proposed increases to the step salary scale (additional increases our RNs receive based on years of service).

Methodist Hospital started the day with a 7% offer over three years. While we did not increase our total offer, we did continue to shift the highest increases to the front of the contract, resulting in nurses receiving  larger pay increases earlier in the three-year contract cycle. We ended the day with a three year offer of 3%, 2%, 2% and a commitment to continue movement in yesterday’s bargaining session. This is the highest wage increase that has been on the table since at least 2010. Our next bargaining session is scheduled for Tuesday, June 18.

Summary for June 12, 2019

North Memorial Health and MNA met for our ninth day of negotiations on Wednesday, June 12 and concluded bargaining for the day after midnight. North Memorial Health started out the day with an initial wage offer increase of 2, 2, 2 (a two percent wage increase for each year of the three-year contract) which is consistent with the 2016 contract settlement. North Memorial Health also worked toward closing out MNA’s two signature issues that were outstanding at North Memorial Health which were education and breaks.

North Memorial Health previously acknowledged that it has room to improve its education model and overall process. North Memorial Health agreed with MNA to pilot a different in-hospital education model which will offer either more in-person or bundled education on a quarterly basis unless there is a regulatory or safety educational need. The details of this education model and pilot will be worked out at Joint Staffing Committee with leadership and the education department. The pilot will start in the first quarter of 2020.

In addition, North Memorial Health worked on break language which outlines work that is currently in place related to breaks. North Memorial Health and MNA jointly agreed to work on strategies and tactics for how leadership can talk with the team to obtain their needed breaks.

North Memorial Health and MNA had additional back-and-forth discussions regarding wage increases. Late in the evening, North Memorial Health offered 2, 2.5, 2.5 – a total increase of 7 percent over the three years of the contract. As a reminder, these increases are in addition to step increases, which many nurses receive and average 3 percent. Step increases would continue in each year under this proposal. While delivering this proposal, North Memorial Health made it clear that this was not our final offer and that this was simply the next move aimed at shrinking the gap between where North Memorial Health and MNA are on wages. The union countered with an offer of 5, 4, 3 – a total increase of 12 percent over the three years of the contract while continuing to insist upon other enhancements that are not needed.

Summary from the Fairview table for June 11, 2019

The Fairview and MNA bargaining teams met Friday, June 7. Both parties came closer together on wages, but did not yet reach an agreement.  

When the parties met in joint session Friday morning, the union made an official, on the record counterproposal.  It was a “package” that addressed several topics.  The official wage offer from MNA was for increases 10% over three years—3% in the first year, 3% in the second year and 4% in the third year. During the day, MNA did not change its official position. 

Fairview made an official, on the record counterproposal rejecting MNA’s “package” and countering on wages for 6.75% over the three years—2.5% in year one, 2% year two and 2.25% in year three.

The parties spent the vast majority of the day discussing hypothetical options for bridging the gap between their respective positions. None of these discussions were ever official proposals. They were discussions intended to allow for the free exchange of ideas without any commitment on the part of the employer or the union. In those hypothetical discussions the union talked about different off the record options and the employer talked about different off the record options.

In order to keep the official bargaining process moving forward, Fairview updated its official offer before the close of the session to 7% over three years—2.5% in year one, 2.5% in year two, and 2% in year three.

Fairview and the MNA have reached agreement on key issues — including workplace violence protections and mandatory education accommodations. Agreement on workplace violence was reached on May 15, well before informational picketing, and the Fairview team has continued to come to the table to seek common ground on the issues.

The Fairview bargaining team is not seeking any additional changes to the contract. Fairview proposed there be no reductions or takeaways in any area of the contract; All of the current positive provisions of the contract remain fully in place.

The informal ideas that were under discussion are still open for discussion when the parties meet again June 18.  If we agree to any items in those informal discussions, they would be reflected in a final agreement for ratification.

Negotiations update for June 4, 2019

Children’s Minnesota and Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) met for our ninth negotiations session on June 4. Though Children’s previously requested the assistance of a federal mediator for this session, the Union declined.

The parties discussed MNA’s proposal related to health insurance and Children’s spent a significant amount of time reviewing the information MNA presented.

The parties also discussed wages and Children’s commitment to providing compensation that reflects the critical role nurses play in the care we provide for children. Children’s made two counter proposals on wages, closing our session with a competitive offer of 2.5 percent / 2.25 percent / 2 percent over the three years of the contract. These are higher wage increases than those the nurses received during the 2016-2019 contract, which were mutually negotiated and agreed to between MNA and Children’s in 2016. Step increases and longevity bonuses would continue as is under this proposal. The Union’s current wage proposal of 12 percent over the three years of the contract is not sustainable, and would limit Children’s ability to reinvest in the care and services we provide for kids and families. Children’s continues to negotiate on wages to recognize the contributions nurses make, while being responsible stewards of our resources.

The Children’s team was surprised to learn that MNA is encouraging members to vote on a strike authorization on June 13. Given the tentative agreements that have been reached, and the movement at the bargaining table, plus our continued willingness to negotiate on wages, Children’s feels this vote is premature. We continue to believe that a settlement is in the best interests for kids, families, nurses and Children’s.

Children’s is fully committed to returning to the table during our next session on June 14 to work through the remaining issues on the table and hope to reach agreement.

Negotiations update for May 24, 2019

Children’s Minnesota and Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) met for their eighth negotiations session on May 24. Three tentative agreements were reached.

The parties agreed on a standalone proposal presented by Children’s on workplace violence prevention, which includes measures Children’s would take to prevent acts of violence in our hospitals, such as additional education for staff, patients and visitors. The proposal also includes steps to respond to violent incidents that impact nurses, including time off to the nurse involved.

The parties also reached tentative agreement on a package of proposals that included language around the scheduling and posting of positions for casual and per diem nurses, as well as transfer between departments.

The Children’s team also reached a tentative agreement which will open up an additional 250-plus certifications for nurses, and make them eligible for financial bonuses. This proposal is mutually beneficial to Children’s and nurses, as certifications enhance a nurse’s skillset and assist in delivering up-to-date care to patients.

Children’s also presented a competitive wage proposal of 2% for each of the three years of the contract, which remains the same as previous negotiated agreements with the nurses and MNA. Step increases and longevity bonuses would continue under this proposal. Children’s above-market increases have contributed to Minnesota being ranked as the second-best state for nurses in the country, with the third highest annual salary for nurses, according to the recent WalletHub study.

The parties will meet again on June 4. Children’s again requested to enlist the assistance of a federal mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). These mediators have specific training in helping labor unions and employers successfully conclude contract negotiations. The Union is considering Children’s request for mediation.

The current contract expires at 11:59 p.m. on May 31. It is not uncommon for union contract negotiations to extend past a contract expiration date. Children’s will continue hospital operations as normal while the parties are still in negotiations trying to resolve the contract.

Negotiations update, June 3, 2019

Negotiations between Twin Cities Hospitals and the Minnesota Nurses Association continue. HealthEast met with the association on May 30 and North Memorial met on May 31. Meetings are scheduled for Children’s on Tuesday, June 4, and Fairview on Friday, June 7.

As of June 3, all Twin Cities Hospital systems have reached agreements on workplace violence, in addition to a number of other issues that differ by system. The largest outstanding issue being discussed is wages.

We will continue to operate under the terms of the existing contracts until new contracts are reached. We are actively working to reach new agreements soon.

Negotiation Updates Week of 5/27/19

Summary from the North Memorial table

North Memorial Health and Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) held their eighth bargaining session on Friday, May 31.

North Memorial Health started the day by returning to discussions of workplace violence prevention. During the last bargaining session, North Memorial Health had stated it was willing to agree to everything within MNA’s workplace violence prevention proposal. North Memorial Health repeated that offer and was able to reach agreement on new contract language related to workplace violence prevention.

Agreement was also reached on vacation bidding language that will result in more nurses being able to take vacation during the popular summer months. The parties also agreed to new language that clarifies the ability of weekend-only nurses to request vacation time on weekends.

North Memorial Health and MNA also discussed wages during this meeting. North Memorial Health made an opening proposal for wage increases of 2% the first year, 2% the second year, and 1.5% the third year. These increases are in addition to step increases, which average 3%, and would continue in each year under this proposal. Step increases are increases most nurses receive in addition to base wages. Loyalty bonuses would also continue. North Memorial Health’s proposal is close to the 2%, 2%, 2% wage increases that were agreed to during the last negotiations. North Memorial Health negotiators made it a point to communicate to MNA that this was the initial proposal that responded to the union’s initial proposal for wage increases of 7%, 7%, and 7%, plus some other economic enhancements.

Before negotiations concluded for the evening, North Memorial Health offered to meet Thursday, June 6, or Friday, June 7, to continue bargaining. MNA did not agree to either of these dates. North Memorial Health will continue to work with MNA to find a mutually agreeable date to continue bargaining.

The collective bargaining agreement technically expired at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May 31. However, it is not uncommon for negotiations to extend past the contract expiration date. North Memorial Health will follow the existing contract terms until a new agreement is reached.

Summary from the HealthEast table

The HealthEast and Minnesota Nurses Association bargaining teams met for the eighth time on Thursday, May 30, and were joined by a federal mediator. Over eight sessions, the teams have reached agreement on several issues central to this bargain — including workplace violence and staffing grid reviews.

In the previous session on May 15, the discussion focused on wages. The HealthEast team was surprised and disappointed when the union’s bargaining team introduced several new economic proposals in this session that exceeded the costs of where the last session ended.

In essence, the union went from a 15% increase in wages over the three years of the contract to a 16% increase in overall costs over the three years of the contract – 13.5% in wages and 2.5% in differentials and education. This increase is not realistic or sustainable given the health care market and industry challenges as well as organizational realities.

The HealthEast wage proposal to the union bargaining team at the end of the session was 6.25% over three years—2% in year one, 2% in year two and 2.25% in year three. Step increases, which average 3.2%, would continue in each year under this proposal. Longevity bonuses remain in place as well.

HealthEast’s current proposal is already at or above the settlements of the last three contracts the union negotiated and recommended.

After two of the union’s team members had to leave at 4 p.m., the negotiation session ended without reaching a new agreement.  The federal mediator will reach out to schedule another session, as members of the HealthEast bargaining team are committed to returning to the table as soon as possible.

While the current contract expired at 11:59 p.m. on May 31, HealthEast will continue bargaining until a new agreement is reached.

Twin Cities Hospitals (Children’s Minnesota, Fairview Health Services, North Memorial Health, HealthEast, Methodist Hospital) are currently negotiating new contracts with the Minnesota Nurses Association. Our goal is to reach fair agreements that serve our nurses and team members, and meet the changing needs of our patients.

Following are updates from negotiations across Twin Cities Hospitals.
Moving forward, we will be sharing summary updates from each health system aligned to each negotiation session.

Week of May 20, 2019

This week, our hospitals met with the Minnesota Nurses Association for another round of negotiations, with the intention of making progress on several key issues.

Wages are now being discussed at a few of our negotiation tables, and the Minnesota Nurses Association continues to ask for double digit increases over the three years of their contract. We have discussed that this is unsustainable for our organizations, and would impact our ability to fulfill our missions.  

As we met, informational picketing took place at several Twin Cities hospitals in Minneapolis and St. Paul on May 22-23. An additional round of picketing is planned for several of our locations on May 29. Given we are still bargaining and actively working through issues, the purpose of the informational picketing is unclear.

We are working with our negotiating teams and the Minnesota Nurses Association to schedule additional bargaining dates the week of May 27. We remain committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to our nurses and works for everyone, so that we may ensure access to exceptional care for our patients and communities.

Week of May 13, 2019

Twin Cities Hospitals met with the Minnesota Nurses Association for the seventh round of negotiations this week. Some of our systems built on the positive momentum from last week, reaching agreement on new contract language regarding top issues such as workplace safety.

Despite this, the union has provided us with notices for informational picketing on May 22, 23 and 29, at several of our hospital locations. We are still committed to negotiating in good faith and reaching an agreement with the Minnesota Nurses Association before the contract expiration—as we’ve stated from the beginning.

We are working with the union and our nurses to schedule additional negotiation sessions, primarily focused on economic proposal discussions. We believe in and are committed to providing fair, competitive and equitable compensation that reflects the critical role nurses play in the care we provide.

Week of April 29, 2019

In our fourth, fifth and sixth negotiation sessions with the Minnesota Nurses Association, we discussed a variety of topics, including one that continues to be equally important to both parties—workplace safety. This is a critical issue for all of us, and as Twin Cities Hospitals and the Minnesota Nurses Association continue to exchange proposals on this topic, we are committed to making meaningful progress together. We are working toward a final contract that affirms both parties’ pledge to this important topic while still ensuring we can update and adjust our policies and processes in response to future best practices.

There were negotiations the week of May 6. Going into these last sessions, many issues with significant economic impact remain. We continue to have a spirit of collaboration and believe that working together with our nurses, we can find common ground on the issues we care about and do what is right and fair for all, especially our patients.

Week of April 22, 2019

This week marked the fourth week of negotiations with the Minnesota Nurses Association and progress was slow. Conversations at the table continue to focus on workplace violence, which is a central issue that we hope to reach alignment on with our nurses. Over the past few weeks, we have had nurses join the Minnesota Nurses Association bargaining team at sessions to share their powerful stories. We all agree that this is an important issue—one we care deeply about and one we continue to work on together. In response, Twin Cities Hospitals talked about the many things we have done—and continue to do—to prevent violence, enhance response plans, train staff, create a safe physical environment, and ensure there are processes to learn from events and prevent them from being repeated. We have not yet come to any agreements on this topic, but hope to soon.

Week of April 1, 2019

Proposal discussions began with Minnesota Nurses Association, with Twin Cities Hospitals sharing counter-proposals to those presented by the union. The union bargaining team focused on workplace safety, sharing a presentation and personal stories about this serious topic.

We take issues of workplace violence very seriously, and we cannot fix them without working together.

Week of March 25, 2019

Twin Cities Hospitals and the Minnesota Nurses Association met this week to exchange first proposals. Each bargaining team made opening statements and presented their initial offerings. The union brought a wide range of proposals to its sessions with our hospitals—some received more than 100 proposals, others far fewer. Twin Cities Hospital’s proposals are aiming to clean up contract language, add important clarifying statements and incorporate past agreements.  

We look forward to productive discussions as we begin responding to each other’s proposals in the next sessions.