Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Hear a Striking Minnesota Nurse Speak Out about the Exploitative Working Conditions Nurses Face

Below we share the text from a speech a striking nurse gave to others on strike in Minnesota. Those striking are fighting against hospitals and a healthcare system that continues to put profit over people’s lives.

Danielle Gilbert

September 14, 2022
Facebook Twitter Share
Image: MediaNews Group/St. Paul Pioneer Press/Getty Images

Hello, my name is Danielle and I’m a nurse at Methodist Hospital. I want to speak a little about the situation we are seeing currently which has led to this strike.

HealthPartners permanently closed seven clinics putting 200 people jobless during the pandemic as the company seeks to put profit first—and accessibility for healthcare last. HealthPartners closed thirty pharmacies and left 300 people jobless while also selling their patients to Walgreens pharmacies before the pandemic. HealthPartners bought Park Nicollet Hospital in order to consolidate and control the market. They created an insurance company that double dips into our communities’ wallets. This has resulted in higher prices for medical services and greater leverage to negotiate higher prices from health insurance providers, leading to ever-increasing health care costs for individuals and families. 

Now their next victims are the union nurses. Since labor remains the biggest cost to any hospital, reducing full-time staff has become a key feature of “successful” hospital administration. The pandemic has only increased hospitals’ appetite for cheap and flexible labor. HealthPartners’ profit in 2019 was $468 million dollars, while they furloughed and forced nurses to use all of their sick and vacation time for covid exposures and symptoms. 

Our hospital did not protect us, nor did they consider our input when implementing pandemic policies. They turned floors into Covid units overnight without warning and left the unfinished puzzle for the nurses to deal with. We were supplied with skeleton crews and PPE we were forced to reuse. 

Now we are negotiating with our hospital in hopes to reclaim our profession. We want our profession to dictate what safe staffing is and what ratios should be in place to provide the best care while making our career sustainable. Currently, our nurse to patient ratios are decided and implemented by hospital administrative staff and these decisions are having irreparable damage to our profession.

We are asking the hospital to keep six months of PPE on hand at all times, but they said it is not cost effective for them. We want the hospital to acknowledge our sacrifices with hazard pay, instead they would rather increase our workload so they can reap the benefit. We believe all of our nurses deserve a guaranteed two week vacation every year and a transparent vacation granting process created by nurses. The hospital does not want transparency or any decision making power given to nurses. We want to be paid our worth and compensated for our sacrifices we made as healthcare heroes. Why do the elites at Methodist Hospital deserve the largest raises while the front line workers work next to travelers receiving three to four times as much per hour as the highest paid union nurse?  

We are now feeling undervalued, underappreciated, and unheard. Our union is now being purposefully dismantled with travelers. Travel nurses cannot hold a hospital accountable for system errors and their goals are short term and focused on financial freedom. These contracted nurses are less likely to report issues to improve a hospital setting in fear of being canceled and placed on a “blacklist” alerting all hospitals not to hire them. Even if a traveler complained, the hospital does not have any obligation to fix the concern. It is much easier to be dismissive when there are no unions and the workers fluctuate in and out at the employer’s discretion. This in turn creates a fractured workplace when voicing institutional failures is discouraged. 

We are now a corporate assembly line that is hurting our profession and our community. People can’t be healed by an assembly line and sick patients should not be used to enrich the elites. We are exploited and then replaced. The constant purging of nurses will eventually come to a head, and our community will suffer the consequences. 

HealthPartners’ only way to negotiate with nurses is by hiding behind an overpaid, union busting, corporate lawyer. They continue to gaslight, demonize, shame, and guilt us during negotiations while investing large sums of money into advertising, bloated administrative salaries, union busting, and travel nurses. Their unregulated capital and abused nonprofit status is immoral and we need to fight corruption together. We are asking the public to hold our hospitals accountable and force them to give up the power they are intoxicated on.

Facebook Twitter Share

Labor Movement

Three tables full of food, with signs hung above them. One says "The People's Pantry: FREE FOOD." Banners hung from the tables say "Free CUNY" and "Cop Free School Zone"

CUNY Administration Cracks Down on Student and Worker-Run Food Pantry

Students and workers opened "The People's Pantry" seven weeks ago as part of a broader anti-austerity campaign at CUNY, leading to several direct confrontations with the administration.

Olivia Wood

March 19, 2023

Temple’s Grad Worker Strike Ends with Important Victories 

The last report on the strike from a union teacher at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Jason Koslowski

March 17, 2023

Teachers and Education Workers Set to Strike! Tens of Thousands Rally in Los Angeles 

A three day strike was announced by two education unions at a rally attended by tens of thousands of members. The workers are calling for increased wages, reduced class size, and an end to harassment by their employers.

Julia Wallace

March 17, 2023
A sign drawn on a small whiteboard, in trans pride colors. Text: "CUNY Graduate Center and Professional Schools Workers for Trans Rights" Beneath the text is a chain of 9 smiling stick figures in different colors, all holding hands

CUNY Union Chapter Unanimously Passes Resolution in Support of Trans Rights

The Graduate Center chapter of PSC-CUNY, the faculty, staff, and graduate worker union of the City University of New York, passed a resolution pledging support to all workers fighting the anti-trans bills nationwide.

Olivia Wood

March 12, 2023


Despite Threats of Arrest, Refinery Workers in France Refuse to Break Strike

As energy strikes continue, France is faced with a kerosene shortage that’s creating an urgent situation at the country’s airports. With capitalist profits on the line, the government has attempted to force Normandy refinery workers back to work through an anti-strike legal weapon called requisitions. In their first victory, refinery workers forced the police to withdraw in an incredible demonstration of solidarity.

Nathan Erderof

March 24, 2023

“We Need Action Committees Everywhere”: Building the General Strike in France

Workers across France are organizing action committees to build a general strike to take down the Macron government and the Fifth Republic.

Arthur Nicola

March 24, 2023

What’s Behind Xi Jinping’s Visit to Moscow?

Chinese president Xi Jinping has visited Moscow for the first time since the beginning of the Ukraine war, in an effort to strengthen trade relations between the two countries.

Madeleine Freeman

March 23, 2023
Protesters gather during a demonstration on Place de la Concorde in Paris on March 17, 2023, the day after the French government pushed a pensions reform using the article 49.3 of the constitution. - French President's government on March 17, 2023 faced no-confidence motions in parliament and intensified protests after imposing a contentious pension reform without a vote in the lower house. Across France, fresh protests erupted in the latest show of popular opposition to the bill since mid-January.

Battle of the Pensions: Toward a Pre-Revolutionary Moment in France

President Macron's use of article 49.3 to push through an unpopular pension reform bill has opened up an enormous political crisis that has changed the character of the mobilizations against the French government. We are entering a "pre-revolutionary moment" that can change the balance of power between the classes in France.

Juan Chingo

March 21, 2023