Brainerd Nurses Picket Near Essentia Health to Demand “Care For Caregivers”
The Minnesota Nurses Association held a informational picket at Essentia Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd today to demand COVID-19 protections, pay, and compensation benefits.
On Monday, Brainerd nurses held up handmade signs to demand “Care for Caregivers.” The request includes personnel protective equipment, proper testing, and eligibility for workers‘ compensation pay with a COVID-19 positive diagnosis. Brainerd nurses have been in negotiation with management at Essentia Health for over a year.
“Nurses have been on the front-lines of this pandemic,” said Essentia Health Registered Nurse Kyle Zelinske. “Yet, we have to wait and ask for PPE or find our own testing. All for an employer that puts us years behind other nurses at other Essentia hospitals. Patients should know about the conditions their nurses are dealing with.”
The Minnesota Nurses Association filed the 10-day notice of intent to hold the picket, where nurses and other health officials took part during their off-hours. According to the Minnesota Nurses Association, 15% of nurses have left Essentia Health to find higher-paying employment.