By Jennifer Mayerle


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thousands of Twin Cities nurses say they will go on strike on June 19.

The walkout at five Allina hospitals is scheduled to last a week. The main disagreements are over health insurance, staffing levels and workplace safety. But are strikes really effective?

“Ideally it’s just the threat of a strike, and ideally it’s the losses that both sides will potentially experience during a strike that keeps them negotiating,” said John Budd, director of the Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

In 2010, 12,000 nurses threatened to strike, only to come back to the table a day after the walk out.

Northwest Airlines mechanics went on strike for 15 months a decade ago. The airline hired permanent replacement mechanics after it started.

“That was a failure on the union’s side,” Budd said. “That was one small group. It was only the mechanics, and they were unable to shut down the airline.”

Janitors walked off the job earlier this year in hopes of higher wages.

“Every strike is a little bit different,” said attorney John Neese. “Some strikes are geared more towards the public relations side of things, so they’re trying to generate public support. Other strikes are very focused on inflicting economic pain on the employer.”

Nesse negotiated on behalf of the cleaning companies.

“It was a very short strike that was directed at generating publicity,” he said.

Union leaders said the agreement gave janitors their largest wage increase in decades.

Budd says less than 1 percent of negotiations end in strikes, and each side loses something, so no one really wins.

A strike’s success is determined by which side got closer to their goal.

Jennifer Mayerle