MCHS nurses cite workplace violence as contract talks stall

MCHS nurses site workplace violence as contract talks stall

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Nurses from Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato are trying to negotiate their contract, especially when it comes to threats and violence in the workplace.

But contract negotiations aren’t going smoothly.

The nurses said Mayo informed Mankato members of the Minnesota Nurses Association that they only wanted to hear from the six negotiating members in the room.

But the nurses want to take an open bargaining approach.

Several nurses at the hospital, like Kris Stenzel, who is on the negotiating team, told KEYC News 12 that they have experienced assault in the workplace.

“It’s coming in, being bit, being spit at, being sworn at, called every name in the book. We addressed this with management and the response we did get was there is verbiage at all of the entrances that violence is not going to be tolerated," Stenzel said.

Union Co-chair Kelly Rosevold also shared her experience.

“Just because we’re nurses doesn’t mean that we deserve to be treated the way that we are by patients sometimes. It could be that we’re spit at, sworn at, grabbed or groped," she said.

Now, they are trying to negotiate their contract with the hospital.

On the first day of negotiations, the group brought up the workplace violence proposal they wanted in their contract to help protect their nurses.

“Their response to us is that they didn’t realize it was an issue here in Mankato, and they invited us to have our members come and share our stories," Rosevold said.

But Mayo told the group that they only wanted to hear from the six negotiating members in the room.

“Open bargaining happened in Duluth. It happened in the Cities. This is not new. It’s to show support for the negotiating team, to show support for other nurses and to help get a fair and equal contract language that we are looking for," Stenzel said.

The hospital responded to KEYC News 12 with this statement:

“We hope they respond to us as early as possible. We’re here. We’re ready to go," said Stenzel.

Wednesday was the second day of negotiations.

The nurses said they plan to continue again next week.

Their contract expired Oct. 1, so they have been working under an expired contract since.

This is a developing story.

Copyright 2019 KEYC. All rights reserved.