Minnesota Nurses’ union ratifies Essentia contract

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DULUTH, MN — Essentia Health nurses have voted to ratify the tentative agreement reached between the hospital company and the Minnesota Nurses Association.

This vote puts into place a new three-year contract for nurses at Essentia’s hospitals in Duluth, which will be considered effective as of July 1, 2019.

The nurses have been working without a contract since the last one expired on June 30.

“The Essentia nurses are happy to put this difficult bargaining process behind us,” said Chris Rubesch, an Essentia nurse and negotiations team member. “We’re looking forward to focusing on our patients and delivering the top-notch healthcare that Duluth patients deserve.”

The contract includes:

  • Workplace violence protections that compensate injured nurses before worker’s compensation takes effect, *
  • Student loan reimbursement of $2,400 total for a two-year degree and $3,600 total for a four-year RN
  • Extra emergency department pay to ensure staffing is meeting patient demand
  • Wages equal to what Twin Cities’ nurses won in their recent contract agreement.

The pay increases are 3 percent in the first and second year of the contract, and 2.25 percent for the third year.

Meanwhile, nurses at St. Luke’s hospital continue to bargain for a new contract. Officials said the next scheduled bargaining date is set for September 11, but the nurses’ negotiating team has also scheduled a strike vote for September 12, if a tentative agreement cannot be reached.

Kristen Vake

Kristen Vake

Anchor, Reporter

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