Mankato Nurses Ratify Agreement with Mayo Clinic Health System
New contract to include patient safety measures
(MANKATO) – 470 nurses represented by Minnesota Nurses Association at Mayo Health Systems Clinic have agreed to contract terms that address quality of patient care in the hospital.
Five months of negotiations, a nurse force galvanized around patient safety concerns and overwhelming community support all contributed to an agreement that lays a new foundation of nurse input into staffing, scheduling and workload. “What we’ve ratified tonight gives more sway to professional nursing judgment,” said Chad Weiler, RN, Co-Chair of the bargaining unit and part of the MNA negotiations committee. “We want to make sure patients are safe in this facility.”
Nurses see the contract agreement as just one step toward their goal. Improved language will help nurses better advocate for their patients without fear of retaliation. In addition, bedside nurses would begin to have more input on staffing levels at their hospital for now.
Nurses remain very concerned, however, about system problems that prevent them from delivering the care patients deserve, and are wary of calling the contract a magic wand. “We’re still not done,” said Weiler. “But our voice is much stronger.”
The group has pledged as a whole to continue to work on identifying patient safety issues and to work on any and all solutions to ensure quality care throughout the state of Minnesota. "We're happy that nurses' input will be used to meet demands for patient care," Weiler said, "We've got the words that will guide hospital practices toward safe staffing, but we still need a commitment from Mayo Mankato before we can all rest easy that all patients are being properly cared for."
Nurses delivered a message of solidarity to MCHS-Mankato management during the entire negotiating process. “We used every tool available to keep our members informed and engaged,” said Weiler. The campaign included RN meetings, text communications and public events like a night at the Mankato Moondogs ball game and an informational picket outside the hospital on Sept. 17 that generated overwhelming support from co-workers and community. “We were all invigorated after that action,” said Weiler. We never felt so united, and I know it made a difference going into our last days of negotiations.”