Hibbing Nurses Hold Info Picket

By KBJR News 1

March 8, 2011 Updated Mar 8, 2011 at 7:12 PM CDT

Hibbing, MN (Northland's Newscenter) - An informational picket was held this afternoon in the parking lot of Fairview University Medical Center Mesabi.

Chanting, and waving, friends and family of Hibbing nurses took to the streets for an informational picket Tuesday afternoon.

"It is important to all of us. It isn't just a few speaking. It is our nurses, as a group speaking, and saying we want more," said April Klander, RN, and bargaining chair for the local Minnesota Nurses Association Unit.

After their contract expired back in October, nurses have been in talks with the hospital to find common ground on a new contract.

Klander says while some of the talks have to do with benefits, most of the sticking points revolve around adequate staffing and a safe work environment.

Officials say nurses from across the state have joined together for the informational picket to show support.

"Nursing isn't any more important in one spot. We need to be able to take care of our patients with save, quality care regardless of where we are at," said Klander.

Administration says no changes in operation have been needed due to the informational picket.

"They have the right by law to do this informational picketing and we respect that. We might not necessarily agree with what they're saying but we respect their right to do that," said Mitch Vincent, director of Human Resources at FUMC-Mesabi.

Administration says they've laid out a proposal settlement which includes a new joint committee that would meet for the duration of the contract to concentrate on safe staffing.

Both sides have been called back to resume talks next Wednesday and administration says they're willing to stay as long as it takes to come to a reasonable proposal.

"This will be the tenth meeting, we think that is a reasonable enough time to come to a settlement. We believe what we have on the table right now with the nurses is fair and responsive considering economics of the day and we're hoping for the best," said Vincent.

Talks are set to resume at 9 AM next Wednesday.