For those of you who have been very concerned for me about the impending nurses strike in Minnesota, you can be at peace! For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, basically nearly all the hospitals in the area have been in talks with their nurses union over the last couple of months to renegotiate their contracts. As I understand it, there were 3 main sticking points:
1) raises - nurses wanted 2-3% raises per year
2) pension and benefits - I think 16 hours per week qualifies nurses for full benefits, and pension reimbursement is pretty high
3) staffing levels - the nurses wanted a restricted level of patient to nurse ratios, no matter the volume at the hospital
Public reaction was pretty negative towards nurses overall, so I think for PR the stress was placed on #3 - to improve quality of care for patients, of course. I won't give my full opinion here, as I will be relying on these same nurses to take good care of me in a few weeks :-) The strike was looking imminent, and set to begin right after the July 4 weekend, but last night they came to an agreement in "secret negotiations." They agreed to no change in benefits, 0, 1, and 2% raises over the next 3 years, and a commitment to continue to work on staffing ratios
Hooray! It's not that I don't think the replacement nurses they would have brought in would be fully competent. It's that we specifically chose our hospital because their philosophy aligns pretty well with ours, and everyone we spoke with attributed it to the nurses. The hospital also has the lowest C-section rate in the state, and we're glad everything will be operating like normal.
Official vote is Tuesday, but everything looks good.