PRESS RELEASE-Nurses Agree on New Contract with Essentia Virginia Hospital
Minnesota Nurses Association
Press Release
December 6, 2013

Nurses Agree on New Contract with Virginia Hospital

Nurses were prepared to walk out on job
Jan Rabbers
(office) 651-414-2861
(cell) 612-860-6658
(Virginia, MN) - Nurses working at Essentia Health – Virginia Medical Center agreed to a new three year contract on Tuesday after difficult negotiations resulted in nurses working for more than three months without a contract.  Nurses voted overwhelmingly to pre-authorize a strike at the facility prior to the agreement to send the message that they expect Essentia to support nurses and patients. 
“We are grateful to nurses for sticking together during a very difficult process," said Glenn Anderson, RN and Co-Chair of the bargaining unit, "and their support showed Essentia that we expect the employer to honor their promise of creating a a working environment that would attract and retain nurses and protect the quality care patients deserve."  In 2011, Essentia management asked for nurses' support when it began the affiliation process of Virginia Regional Medical Center, and nurses obliged under the promise that a new ownership structure would improve patient care. 

The bargaining unit of 120 nurses, represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association, has been without a contract since July 31, 2013.  The unit of nurses voted Tuesday to pre-authorize the strike if an agreement could not be reached.  

“Since negotiations began in August, these nurses have stuck together,” said Anderson.  “They've showed up in force at negotiating sessions to make their concerns known to the employer directly.  We were prepared to walk out if Essentia didn't fulfill its promise to make a first-rate investment in the care for this community.  Virginia deserves nothing less."

Retention of skilled nurses is important because it positively impacts quality patient care.  That investment has proven to pay off. Research conducted by Nursing Solutions, Inc. this year estimates that each percent increase in RN turnover will cost the average hospital an additional $331,800.
The contract will pay nurses 8.25 percent more over three years, improve health benefits, and spell out language that sets standards for enough nurses to be on duty to take care of patients and their conditions in various departments. 

About MNA:

With more than 20,000 members in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, MNA is the leading organization for registered nurses in the Midwest and is among the oldest and largest representatives of RNs for collective bargaining in the nation.  Established in 1905, MNA is a multi-purpose organization that fosters high standards for nursing education and practice, and works to advance the profession through legislative activity.  MNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United.

About NNU:

National Nurses United, with close to 185,000 members in every state, is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in U.S. history.

NNU was founded in 2009 unifying three of the most active, progressive organizations in the U.S.—and the major voices of unionized nurses—in the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, United American Nurses, and Massachusetts Nurses Association.
Copyright © © 2013 Minnesota Nurses Association, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
Minnesota Nurses Association 345 Randolph Avenue, Suite 200, St. Paul, MN 55102 | Phone: 651-414-2800 | Toll Free: 800-536-4662