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Moose Lake nurses plan to picket for ‘fair’ contract next Tuesday

MOOSE LAKE, MN – Nurses from the Minnesota Nurses Association at Essentia Health’s Moose Lake Hospital have announced plans to picket.

According to the MNA, they will be displayed in front of the hospital on Tuesday, June 28, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The announcement comes just a day after Twin Ports nurses stood outside Essentia Hospital in Duluth to picket for similar reasons.

Moose Lake nurses are seeking a fair first contract with Essentia Health, which bought the hospital two years ago. They claim that the hospital did not recognize the nurses’ existing contract.

Negotiations with Essentia cover topics such as scheduling, staffing and compensation.

“Due to Essentia Health executives’ refusal to recognize the nurses’ prior contract, Moose Lake nurses lost bonuses, gained sick leave hours and company pension contributions, despite promises that the acquisition would benefit the community,” MNA representatives said.

Contract negotiations have now reached two years.

Essentia spokespersons shared a statement on Wednesday:

“We respect our nurses and the role they play in helping advance Essentia Health’s mission to make a healthy difference in people’s lives. We focus on our discussions at the bargaining table because that is where the solutions lie. Essentia will continue to negotiate in good faith and we hope to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

Our nurses are valued members of our care teams at Essentia Health, and we respect their right to information picket as part of a union.

Our top priority in everything we do is to continue to provide our patients with the kind of specialized care they expect and deserve.

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