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Moose Lake nurses announce plans to picket at Essentia hospital

The event follows other nurse pickets at Minnesota hospitals, including pickets at Essentia and St. Luke's in the Twin Ports earlier this week.

The parking lot at Essentia Health-Moose Lake
Essentia Health-Moose Lake nurses are planning to picket Tuesday.
Jamey Malcomb / 2021 file / Duluth News Tribune
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MOOSE LAKE — Nurses at Essentia Health-Moose Lake will be holding an informational picket Tuesday, the Minnesota Nurses Association announced Wednesday.

The picket, which will be held from noon to 5 p.m., comes as Moose Lake nurses enter into the second year of contract negotiations with Essentia. The picket is not a work stoppage, and hospital operations will not be affected.

Essentia purchased what was formerly Mercy Hospital in June 2020 and did not recognize union nurses' previous contracts. According to the news release from MNA, Essentia executives have not agreed to requested language to address shift scheduling, which has delayed negotiation over wages and compensation. Because of extended negotiations, nurses have lost their earned sick leave hours, bonuses and company retirement contributions protected by their existing contracts.

The nurses are requesting to address scheduling, staffing, compensation and retention in contract language.

The informational picket follows 14 other pickets at Minnesota hospitals this month. On Tuesday, nurses in the Twin Ports held pickets at St. Luke's and Essentia while they also undergo contract negotiations.

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