Minneapolis, MN – More than 400 rank-and-file members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) joined the picket lines of the nurses on strike at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Friday, Sept. 23. They held a solidarity rally and walked the picket lines together with striking nurses, undeterred by the rain. Eight buses and many cars full of AFSCME members went together from the AFSCME Council 5 convention in Bloomington, which brought together AFSCME members from throughout Minnesota.
Almost 5000 nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) have been on strike since early September against Allina. Before the solidarity picketing on Friday, MNA President Mary Turner spoke to the delegates at the AFSCME convention, where she was received with warm solidarity and standing ovations for the nurses’ bold determination to strike against Allina’s greedy demands that nurses accept significant health insurance cuts.
AFSCME Executive Director Eliot Seide announced that AFSCME had donated $10,000 to the nurses’ strike hardship fund and would continue to make additional significant donations if the nurses are forced to continue their strike. Several AFSCME local leaders also announced that their locals would make donations to the nurses’ strike fund so the nurses can stay on strike as long as it takes to win.
Later that evening, federal mediators called Allina management and the Minnesota Nurses Association back to the bargaining table this coming Tuesday, Sept 27.