Questions and Answers

Do you have questions?  We’ll find an answer.


48 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by dumbquestion on June 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Can someone tell me the 14 hospitals involved in all of this? I know North Memorial, Park Methodist, Fairview Southdale, Fairview Riverside, United, Unity, Abbott, Mercy, Phillips. After that I am not sure. Thanks


  2. Posted by drichmn on June 22, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Interesting comment posted in the long hello nurses thread that I’d like to explore.

    Posted by anobserver on June 22, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    The MNA decided to drop out of the 2009 group after it became clear that the information didn’t support mandatory ratios and what the CA Nurses Association was trying to accomplish by helping to form the National Nurses United.

    Does anybody know why MNA would want to pursue the stated agenda of NNU on fixed ratios rather than basing staffing on patient acuity, staffing mix, and collaborative practice? This makes no sense to me that MNA would choose to ignore the data when they represent professional nurses who base practice on scientific evidence. What has happened to MNA?


    • Posted by wildfox on June 22, 2010 at 6:47 pm

      I would say … follow the money.


      • Posted by Angie on June 23, 2010 at 10:01 am

        Exactly. Fixed ratios=more nurses=more union dues.


        • Posted by wildfox on June 24, 2010 at 7:24 pm

          Plus if there are more nurses hired more ancillary staff will be layed off making nurses work even harder than they do, doing non-nursing duties.


    • Posted by purpledramakitty on June 28, 2010 at 12:47 am

      first of all, nurses have been working with the legislature in MN regarding safe staffing language laws for the past 2 years or so. The NNU has only been in existence since Dec. 2009. They (MInnesoata RNs) are working towards a Minnesota model of staffing, not a California model. From my understanding (talking with my reps), they would like to see the proposal be based on acuity, staff mix, and collabrative practice and not just a fixed ratio. However, there can be no working with the proposals if the hospitals are unwilling to even talk about it.


      • Posted by drichmn on June 28, 2010 at 1:04 am

        they would like to see it based on acuity, staff mix, and collaborative practice? That’s not what’s in the MNA contract proposal. MNA has not changed their stance on fixed ratios. And NNU’s comments make it very clear that they will not compromise on fixed ratios. So who is unwilling to talk?


      • From what I understand they will not accept the rigid ratios that MNA continues to propose…..nor would we want themt to.


  3. Posted by Tom on June 22, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    A federal mediator can declare an impasse. I believe that he./she has discretion as to timing of such a decision after 30 days following the expiration of a contract. This is the mediator’s “stick” that can be used to keep the parties at the table (the union, in particular) as I understand it.

    Here is the link to a court precedent upholding the mediator’s authority in this regard –>

    I think a mediator can introduce other possible remedies as well — with the agreement of the parties. This may include an “arbitration panel” that is comprised of private citizens who are qualified to arbitrate the rights-based or grievance-based disputes between the parties. The panel’s decision is advisory. Or the parties can agree to submit their disagreement to formal arbitration which is normally binding.

    We will have to see what happens at the upcoming mediated negotiation session(s) this week. However, I do believe that the mediator could declare an impasse as soon as the first of July in an attempt to avert a work stoppage. In my view, (1) the wage and benefit areas could be settled, (2) the pension is a separate matter not directly involved in the 14-hospital labor agreement and (3) the whole area of MNA’s patient safety demands including mandatory staffing ratios, ER diversion, closure to new admissions and concommitant fines due in the event of violations is a very, very sticky area that is really outside the bounds of a labor contract. MNA is on shaky ground in this third area of the current interest dispute unless it greatly modifies its stance (e.g. — agrees to accept “guidelines” rather than “requirements”). If an early impasse is called, it will be because of lack of movement on this third category and that’s what I expect will happen.


    • Tom….just want to thank you again for the insightful information you provide to this blog. That is what we want to accomplish here….providing accurate information and support!


      • Posted by wildfox on June 23, 2010 at 10:25 am

        drich …. Could we add the link to MNA tax filings, maybe 2007/2008/2009 ? If you add up 3 years (length of contract) it is a ton of money. I think Tom has links. It would be nice for newcomers here to see where their union dues go and why there is NO strike fund. MNA should be able to give every striking member bi-weekly checks to help out. Other unions have in the past.


        • Posted by Linda on June 23, 2010 at 10:59 am

          I have wondered this same thing. Also I heard dues are about 800 per year. With only the 12000 MNA RN’s in this negotiation cycle that is almost 10 million dollars a year. With all the MNA RN’s it’s about 13.5 million. That is a ton of money – would love to see the accountability for those funds.


        • Posted by wildfox on June 23, 2010 at 11:00 am

          Watch out !! I was “crunching numbers” again … If MNA can’t give members enough strike fund money to cover at least strike costs to members …. let’s say $100 a week … something is terribly wrong. I came up with: 7000 members striking at $100 week x 1 month = 2 .8 million. If 12,000 MNA members (which will not happen) went on strike I come up with 4.8 million a month, about 1/3 of what MNA takes in a year.. PLEASE check my math but I think something is really fishy with MNA finances.


          • Posted by zzzzzzx6 on June 26, 2010 at 7:33 pm

            What they take in is income, from their income statement. Then they have their expenses and, in turn, their profit or loss for a year. What is applicable to the strike and their ability to pay out cash is the amount of cash and marketable securities (like certificates of deposit) they have on hand, from their balance sheet. Their last filing (at the end of their business year) with the US Department of Labor shows approximately 8.6 million in cash and marketable securities. Presumably, they would not be positioned to borrow much beyond that. The wild card, most likely, will be the national union, who might be able to transfer cash into MNA. I just don’t know.



    • Posted by rndmcrzyktty on June 25, 2010 at 7:40 pm

      I have to agree that the staffing issues, nurse/patient ratios really do seem to be outside the bounds of a labor contract. It really is like the employees telling their employer how to run their business. It just really doesn’t make sense to me to have that sort of stuff written into a labor contract. Maybe they could negotiate for a larger seat on the committee that makes those policies?


  4. Posted by Tom on June 22, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    I have a related question — what does the 12,000 member number really reflect? Does it include any substantial number of bargaining unit nurses who have opted out of full membership status and do not have voting rights? Just wondering.


    • Posted by drichmn on June 22, 2010 at 8:02 pm

      I think it is just those who are full members with voting rights. Perhaps one of the MNA nurses could verify that with their MNA rep and report back.


  5. Posted by SaneRN on June 22, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    I work for Allina, and crossed the first time. We had a number to call if we wanted to work-they took our information and then told us of their plan to get us in and out safely. It worked really well, and I felt safe and didn’t have to worry about being harassed or having my car damaged. In spite of the stress and concern over crossing the line, I felt so proud to take a stand–and will do it again in a heartbeat!


    • Good for you….I hope there will be many more brave nurses out there if it comes to that again. It is hard to go up against an army but I am very proud that you did!


  6. Posted by acsofs on June 22, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    So the union only needed “Yes” votes from 66% of the nurses who voted? I assumed they needed 66% of all MNA nurses with voting rights at the 14 hosptials. So if only three nurses had voted and two gave “Yes” votes, that would have been enough to authorize a strike???


  7. Posted by wildfox on June 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Could we add “suggestions to nostrikefornurses blog administrator” on the blog roll or elsewhere. We can then put blog/web issues in there. Did you know “Breaking News” comments link is turned off?
    Thanks again for contsructing this blog, it has turned out to be more helpful than i imagined.


    • Posted by drichmn on June 23, 2010 at 1:28 pm

      Yes, I did turn that off on breaking news. I wanted it to just be informational about changes to the blog. Maybe I’ll change the title of it to be Blog News and turn back on the comments so that you can put blog related questions/web issues and suggestions in there.


  8. Posted by wildfox on June 23, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Here is link to Dept. of Labor (DOL) union LM2 filings but I can’t figure out how to look up MNA’s financial reports. Any one know how to do this? It would be nice to post MNA’s 2007-2009 earnings and expenses.


    • Posted by wildfox on June 23, 2010 at 5:59 pm

      I found the info under file # 053-683. Be prepared to see the unbelieveable. NO wonder there is no money for strike fund.


      • Posted by lotstolose on June 28, 2010 at 6:44 am

        just visited that site..totally blown out of the water with the wages paid out to MNA officers and there a several of them making greater than $100,000.


  9. Posted by rndmcrzyktty on June 23, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    I have a question about the staffing ratios. Currently they are apart of the hospital policies and are reviewed each year or sooner if needed. If they do become part of the contracts between the hosptials and MNA what happens if something needs to be changed? Do they have to wait 3 years until the next time the contracts are up or can they amend them as needed? Each hospital is different, each situation is different. How can they be prepared for all the possible situations?


    • Posted by drichmn on June 23, 2010 at 10:23 pm

      Excellent question. That is one of the unintended consequences of locking in something as specific as that into a contract. It’s likely you would have to wait for the next round of negotiations. It would be interesting to know if your current contract says anything about reopening contract negotiations. I don’t know if both parties would have to agree. And once you reopen them it would be interesting to know if that means everything is fair game. I believe that’s why it is difficult to reopen contract negotiations. Can you imagine having to go through this every year, or sooner?


    • Posted by frustrated RN on June 28, 2010 at 5:53 pm

      I asked this question of Susan Mason – what happens if the Staffing ratios don’t work like we think they will – why do we want that restriction in our contract. She did not respond to that question and others that I asked. Only stating that our MNA reps take their responsiblity of representing our views seriously.


  10. I have been unable to figure out why none of the union members question the MNA’s finances. They seem pretty concerned about their hospitals bank statement and salaries. 19% toward the NNU and AFL-CIO= 1.6 million / year! That could really help the MNA strike fund (which we truly do not have) …hmmmm…And just why did they remove the finances from the new website? But you can view the finances if you go to the MNA office in St. Paul…hmmmm…I am going to try to access the sites you have listed wildfox. Thanks! “Thomas” has been trying to bring this to light also on the Trib site. This website is really educational!


  11. Posted by Phil on June 24, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    I am curious to know if I step out of MNA what happens to my seniority status? I’ve been in the same department for over 20 years & I would like to keep that. Does anyone know the answer?


    • Posted by drichmn on June 24, 2010 at 9:06 pm

      Hi Phil, the letter from Children’s Hospital in the Resigning from MNA tab states that seniority is not affected. I would expect that’s the same at all the hospitals but you could double check that with your HR rep.


  12. Posted by Serenity on June 27, 2010 at 10:39 am

    I have a question which was asked of me and I don’t have an answer.

    How does a Union disintegrate or become busted from a hospital? What is needed and how does it happen? Has it happen before in any MN hospitals? I’m sure there are answers, I just don’t have them. Please respond:)


    • Posted by drichmn on June 27, 2010 at 10:46 am

      check out the last question in the MNA related FAQ in the FAQ tab at the top. A commenter posted in Food for Thought that Hazelden in Center City was the only facility to decertify MNA.


  13. Posted by Pennagirl on June 28, 2010 at 9:22 am

    I have a question, slightly related…is there a rule/law/etc. regarding how many consecutive hours that nurses may work. I know a nurse that works at two different hospitals and can be on the clock for 72 hours straight (taking naps in the provided room, but always interrupted sleep…maybe 30-45 minutes if that for the nap). How is that safe to patients? The union wants staffing ratios but is that legal or ethical for a nurse to work that many hours?


    • Posted by acsofs on June 28, 2010 at 11:32 am

      Lordy that is scary, to put it mildly. I know that if the scheduling or staffing offices knew of this, they would not allow the nurse to work more than a 16 hour stretch. I think there is an ethical reason to report this to a manager and the staffing office.


      • Posted by Pennagirl on June 30, 2010 at 10:04 am

        Yes, I agree that is scary. This person works for two different hospitals, in a really high profile area. I wondered because truck drivers have to keep a log and can only work so many consecutive hours; my thoughts were why are nurses not regulated like that. Especially since they are responsible for lives. This person gets to sleep just a few minutes, never enough to recharge…10 to 12 hour shifts; three days straight. That is just dangerous too me..not only for the nurse’s health but of the possibility of error that could harm the patients.

        So if I understand, then, the answer is no..there is no regulation from the state or government, union or non-union regarding hours consecutively worked or working back to back at different hospitals.


  14. Posted by Keeley2 on June 28, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Am scheduled for surgery on 7/7. How will this strike affect me?


  15. Posted by PJ on June 28, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I have a question….if anyone knows the answer, would appreciate it. If one resigns as a voting member of MNA what happens to accured pension? I’ve been a nurse for 31 years and that is significant for me.

    I crossed on the one day and will continue to cross. It’s great finding someplace to talk about this! I feel much less alone in my thoughts and convictions!


    • Posted by drichmn on June 28, 2010 at 1:32 pm

      You keep your accrued pension. Please check out the pension related FAQ in the FAQ’s tab at the top of the page for more information.


  16. Posted by TJ on June 29, 2010 at 9:06 am

    I’m curious about the union negotiators. How are they selected and what skill set do they have to be negotiating? I’m sure the other side has professionals who are highly skilled negotiators and know the limits of what they can get, does MNA have the same? I guess I have no faith in their negotiating/compromise skills.


    • Posted by Tom on June 29, 2010 at 9:45 am

      Good question, TJ.
      There are two dimensions to the negotiators’ skill set — experience and style. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether the MNA reps (both the central office and hospital-specific team members) have any depth of experience. I would think that continuity and context would be important factors but I don’t know how “deep” they are on the MNA side of the table.
      On the style part of the skill set, I think it’s fair to say that the MNA leadership has heavily influenced their negotiator teams toward an “adversarial” style rather than an “interest-based” model. Let me give you an example. On the matter of patient safety, an adversarial style would be to pre-determine the solution (e.g., rigid staffing levels mandated by contract). An interest-based approach would be to identify common ground on the shared goal of improving outcomes and bargaining/exploring mutually-acceptable solutions.
      You may not be aware of it but the style of the MNA-TCH contract had been moving toward interest-based following the 1984 strike but has back-slid in the past 10 years or so. The FMCS has been actively involved with both parties for decades and has provided grants for training and support in interest-based bargaining as a preferred model for getting to resolution. I am really curious about how much (or how little) training MNA has availed itself of during the past ten years.
      My view — right or wrong — is that MNA has largely abandoned this approach recently to the detriment of its members.
      I believe that the federal mediator will continue trying to bring the parties back to this model of deliberation but only time will tell if the effort can succeed in time to avoid a work stoppage on July 6. I am not encouraged that it will because I think MNA and NNU are too entrenched and focussed upon their own objectives at this point.


      • Thank you Tom once again for your information and insight.


      • Posted by TJ on June 29, 2010 at 10:56 am

        Thank you for the response. I hope they change their style as well, good negotiators look for a win-win. I get the feeling NNU/MNA wants to trample the hospitals to flex their muscle to gain national attention at any cost to their nurses.


  17. Posted by Tom on June 29, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Here’s an interesting article and an even more interesting exchange between a couple of readers in the comment section –>


  18. Posted by followthemoney on June 30, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I have a question about a recent post regarding a 53 page document in 2009 of the MNA disbursements of their money including salaries. I printed a few pages and now am unable to find that site. A post on MNA facebook states the pages have disappeared. That link was here before 6/27, I am unable to find it.


  19. Posted by followthemoney on June 30, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I am looking for the link to a DOL form file number 053-683, it shows the disbursement of MNA funds including salaries. I saw this on this blog before 6/27, someone on MNA facebook states they are unable to get this information , I got some of it the other day and now can not find it. Did it get erased? and by whom? It is a 53 page document that is a real eye opener to those who keep touting ” corporate greed” Nurses, wake up to what this is about. It is power, control and most of all money. The union wants YOURS and more.


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