MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Registered nurses at two Minneapolis hospitals met with their union's officials Wednesday to show their frustration over a bungled ratification vote that has left them with a deal they narrowly rejected.
Nurses at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and the Phillips Eye Institute, both in Minneapolis, met with Minnesota Nurses Association officials a day after learning their contract had been mistakenly ratified as a result of a miscount Saturday. The nurses actually voted 621-620 to reject the proposed contract.
"The next contract, people won't trust what's going on," said Lillian Gale, an orthopedic nurse at Abbott.
Mike Redmond, an orthopedic nurse at Abbott, described the miscount news as humiliating and said he was especially frustrated "that we don't have any recourse."
Some nurses talked of lawsuits and decertifying the MNA, said MNA spokeswoman Jan Rabbers. But the mood calmed later and many nurses turned their anger toward the hospitals, she said.
Mark Dixon, Abbott's president, defended the hospital's decision to refuse the union's request for a revote. He said the hospital and union agreed that the contract was legally ratified.
"The fact of the matter is, we have patients to care for," he said. "Many of the (nurses) are saying this has been a long roller-coaster ride. It's time to move on. It's time to begin the healing."
The new contract calls for a 19 percent wage increase over three years, as well as greater say in patient loads and staffing.
Registered nurses at two Twin Cities hospitals continued their strike Thursday morning. The nurses at Fairview Southdale in Edina and Fairview-University Medical Center in Minneapolis walked off the job Sunday.
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