replacement nurses hired at most hospitals
chris williams, associated press writer
posted: 6:57 pm mdt june 9, 2010updated: 3:17 pm mdt june 10, 2010
minneapolis -- more than 12,000 nurses launched a one-day strike thursday at 14 minnesota hospitals in a dispute over nurse-patient ratios levels and pension benefits.
nurses say they are being asked to care for too many patients at a time, and strict ratios are necessary to protect patient safety. the hospitals, all in the minneapolis area, counter that patients are safe and that the walkout is a headline-grabbing stunt to build membership and clout for a national nurses union.
about the same number of nurses had planned a simultaneous strike in california over the same issues, but were blocked temporarily earlier this week by a san francisco judge.
the minnesota nurses walked off the job at 7 a.m. and onto picket lines at several sites. at abbott northwestern hospital near downtown minneapolis, one nurse serenaded several hundred others by playing "amazing grace" on bagpipes. passing motorists honked horns, and red t-shirted nurses waved signs that read, "we care. for you" and "rns protecting patients."
sue stamness, a cardiology nurse at abbott for 24 years, said patient safety was the nurses' top concern.