Nurses, support workers unite for safe staffing at North Memorial Hospital

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North Memorial nurses and support staff join informational picketing outside the hospital, warning of unsafe cuts to staffing pushed by management.

ROBBINSDALE – Rankled by North Memorial Hospital’s plan to cut their staffing levels, nurses and support staff united for informational picketing outside the facility here today.

Hospital management, union leaders say, has moved unilaterally to cut staffing among nurses, dietary aides, housekeepers and other support workers to dangerously low levels. Nurses, for example, are now expected to spend 11 minutes per visit with a patient, down from the previous standard of 20 minutes, Minnesota Nurses Association President Linda Hamilton said.

“Patients need a whole lot more time than that,” Hamilton said. “But unfortunately, North Memorial has decided to put profits before patients.”

Jamie Gulley, president of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, said support workers, like registered nurses, see the impact of cuts to staffing – and the threat they pose to patient care.

“Members of SEIU and MNA have joined together to shine a spotlight on corporatization of health care at North memorial,” Gulley said. “It’s unconscionable for this hospital to prevent us from giving the care we want to give and that patients deserve.”

North Memorial nurses said they already had seen impacts of the cuts.

“Just having eyes on our patients – sometimes it’s the difference between noticing changes, or that something’s not right,” RN Christine Raatikka said. “It’s very stressful.”

“We are out picketing today because the plan proposed by North Memorial to cut staffing levels is dangerous and could put patients lives at risk if implemented,” Jennifer Kappel, a nursing assistant at North Memorial and SEIU member, added. “We work hard and care deeply about our patients, and will continue fighting these cuts to protect their safety.”
Presidents Linda Hamilton (MNA), Jamie Gulley (SEIU Healthcare MN) and Bobby Kasper (St. Paul Regional Labor Federat-ion) walked the picket line together.

Presidents Linda Hamilton (MNA), Jamie Gulley (SEIU Healthcare MN) and Bobby Kasper (St. Paul Regional Labor Federat-ion) walked the picket line together.

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