Nurses deal prevents further uncertainty

Published 1:18 pm Saturday, June 7, 2014

Everyone in Austin should be pleased that 145 hospital nurses and administrators at Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin reached an agreement on a nurses contract late last month.

The Austin community is the true winner of the contract.

With all the changes in the health care industry, the last thing people wanted was a prolonged impasse at the negotiating table.

Email newsletter signup

When Austin hospital nurses held the first-ever solidarity walk outside the clinic on May 19, it caught public attention. After prolonged, highly publicized contract deadlocks at Twin Cities hospitals in 2010, the solidarity walk surely caused some worry.

It’s a transformative time in health care. Along with the implementation of MNsure — Minnesota’s version of the Affordable Health Care Act or Obamacare — Mayo Clinic Health System also started utilizing a team care approach that puts a strong emphasis on nurses and specialists, rather than the old patient-physician model.

In the face of such changes, no one wants to see more uncertainty surrounding contracts.

Along with a 9.25 percent wage increase over three years and improvements in health and retirement benefits, Minnesota Nurses Association representatives said the contract assures nurses have a say when it comes to staff and scheduling, among other things.

At least from what we know of the contract and the negotiations, both sides appear pleased with the contract.

It’s unlikely either administrators or nurses received everything they wanted with the contract, but that’s the nature of compromise in negotiations.

We commend the nurses and administrators for reaching a deal. We’re glad to know these essential partners will be there working together when we need them.