On Monday, progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar (D) joined roughly 15,000 nurses waging the largest private sector nurses’ strike in U.S. history as the workers marched for better pay and safer working conditions in her home state of Minnesota.
Omar marched in solidarity with nurses in her district in Minneapolis and encouraged her followers on social media to join the workers’ picket line. “Overwhelmed by the passion and commitment of these nurses,” she wrote on Twitter.
Adam Ramer, Omar’s deputy campaign manager, added on Twitter that the lawmaker and her staff were “Fighting with [Minnesota nurses] as they strike for safer conditions & for hospital CEOs to put patients over profits.”
After negotiating for five months with hospital administrators, Minnesota nurses went on strike Monday. The Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) represents the nurses and says that nurses are struggling to provide adequate care for their patients due to severe understaffing.
In recent months, the lawmaker has supported nurses during their protests. joined workers in an informational picket, or a picket line meant to inform the public about union members’ concerns, held by nurses at a Minneapolis hospital.
Omar wrote an opinion piece in support of nurses who voted to authorize the strike last week. He stressed the importance of treating hospital executives with dignity in order to care for the patients they care for.
“It is unconscionable that hospital CEOs have refused to address” nurses’ concerns, Omar wrote. “When nurses are not given the resources and support they need, patient care suffers. Instead, they have fostered a system that puts profits over the health and safety of both nurses and patients.”
Nurses have been asking for 30 percent raises over the next three years, but hospital administrators have countered with raises of 10 to 12 percent over three years — which is lower than current inflationary rates, on average. The strike was blamed on the union by hospital administrators. and had filedSome of the unfair labor practice fees were imposed before the strike and have been thrown out of court.
Omar stated in her op-ed, that understaffing is a result of hospital administrators refusing to provide better working conditions. “We don’t have a shortage of nurses; we have a shortage of dignified workplaces in our health care system,” she wrote. “Nurses are not equipped with the resources they need or deserve to do their jobs.”
Indeed, nurses say that they’ve faced stagnant wages or even wage cuts in recent years, as the industry has never quite recovered from the loss of thousands of health care workers who left the sector, died or were disabledDue to COVID. This has resulted in a massive riseThere is a high demand for travel nurses who travel to other cities and states to fill in for staff shortages. They are paid at a higher rate than full time staff.
However, this growing dependence on travel nursing cannot be sustained. health care workers sayWhile travel nurses may temporarily alleviate shortages, core hospital nursing staff are still stretched and must adapt to a more transient staff and a different workflow. And, because travel nurses earn lucrative pay compared to regular nurses’ salaries, the practice could impede upon hospitals’ ability to recruit talented, full-time staff to care for their patients, workers say.