Nurses brought in at hospitals during strike offered $8,000+ for 5 days’ work


MORE: Click here for the latest updates from day 2 of the nursing strike

MINNEAPOLIS — Around 15,000 Minnesota nurses from the Twin Cities and Duluth are heading back to the picket line Tuesday morning. 

At Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis, a coach bus filled with traveling nurses was seen arriving as striking nurses were setting up outside. 

Striking nurses say their traveling counterparts can’t provide the same quality of care they can.

“They don’t know our policies [or] our protocols,” said Angela Becchetti, a registered nurse at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. “They don’t know where stuff is, how does our unit work, how do our patients work and you can’t learn that in a couple days of training and that’s an issue for us.”

Job postings circulating online for traveling nurses from Medical Staffing Solutions advertise pay starting at just under $8,000 for this strike specifically. That pay covers the three days of the strike in addition to two days of training. Other advertisements on Indeed list positions at more than $10,000 for the duration of the strike.

By the numbers, traveling nurses could be making just under $1,600 per day on the lower end of the advertised spectrum.

The striking nurses have asked for a 30% wage increase over three years, with the first year increase at 13%. Abbott nurses say that if they got that pay bump, it would mean base pay for a starting nurse would be $34.99 an hour. 

With nurses working an average 12-hour day, Becchetti said new nurses would only be making $419.18 a day, or about a quarter of what traveling nurses are making a day during each day of the strike.

The hospital has said it can’t afford what nurses are asking for, citing multimillion dollar losses during the pandemic. Hosptital officials have instead countered with a 12% increase over three years.

An Allina spokesperson said aside from having to reschedule some elective surgeries and procedures, things for the most part are running smoothly as they can despite the strike.

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