By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Right now, thousands of Minnesota nurses are working under an expired contract.

Negotiations continue between the Minnesota Nurses Association and 14 Twin Cities hospitals, including hospitals with Fairview Health Services, Children’s, Allina Health, Health East, as well as Methodist Hospital and North Memorial.

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Elaina Hane, a pediatric nurse in the ICU at Children’s Hospital, is on the negotiating team for the Minnesota Nurses Association. They’re still fighting for higher wages and more affordable insurance for some of the 13,000 nurses in the MNA.

“At Children’s, insurance is a huge issue. Our insurance premiums have gone up over 200% in the last nine years,” Hane said.

The MNA says nurses did come to an agreement with the hospitals Friday night over one major issue: workplace safety. Now, the MNA says nurses will no longer have to treat a patient if they have been violent to them in the past and follow up meetings will be required after a violent incident.

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“We’ll see if they stick to it, but definitely the language we have is good,” Hane said.

A spokesperson for the hospitals told WCCO in part:

“Already, systems have reached agreements with MNA on a variety of issues, including workplace safety. The hospitals continue to strive towards contracts that are fair for the nurses, other employees, patients and their families, and the community. We are hopeful and optimistic that agreements can be reached soon.”

Negotiations will start up again next week. Until they reach an agreement, nurses will operate under their old contracts.

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The nurses have not authorized a strike, but Hane said nothing is off the table. The nurses went on a one-day strike in 2010 after a contract shutdown.

Kate Raddatz