The Free Press, Mankato, MN

October 3, 2013

Nurses voting today on contract

By Robb Murray

---- — MANKATO — Nurses at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato are voting today on a new labor agreement.

The nurses, represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association, is hoping the hospital addresses their concerns over staffing, which the nurses say has been inadequate.

The hospital says the staffing concerns the nurses have are based on old staffing models, and they want to move to a model that bases levels on the needs of individual patients.

Nurses have until 8 p.m. to vote, after which the votes will be counted. There are three possible outcomes:

First, the nurses could accept the contract and the dispute ends. Second, they could reject and return to negotiations. Third, if two-thirds of the nurses reject it, they could possibly go on strike.

If they do in fact have a two-thirds rejection, it doesn't necessarily mean there will be a strike. It could also simply mean they go back to the bargaining table.

If they do choose to strike, a strike could be one day, several days, or a full-blown strike situation where they don't go back to work until it's resolved.

In any case where a strike would happen, they'd be required to give the hospital 10 days notice.