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Why 15,000 nurses went on strike in Minnesota

September 19, 2022


Nurses in Minnesota organized the largest strike of private sector nurses in U.S. history this past week, with 15,000 nurses walking off the job for three days. The walkout ended without a new contract, but the nurses continue to push for better working conditions. While the pandemic pushed many nurses to the brink, some say the burnout was years in the making. Issues like compensation, paid family leave and workplace violence and protections were cited as key reasons the nurses went on strike at 13 different hospitals. For a transcript of this story, click here.

Five Facts

  • Who is interviewed in this story, and what are their backgrounds?
  • What were the demands of the striking nurses?
  • How have hospital choices led to the need to strike, according to those interviewed here?
  • When did staffing issues become a serious problem, according to this story?
  • Why is staffing levels one of the key issues that have led to the strike?

Focus Questions

What do you think are the impacts on the larger community when nurses are overworked? How do you think the problem should be addressed now that COVID continues to affect hospital systems but fewer extra resources are available from federal and state governments?

Media literacy: Who else would you want to hear from to better understand what is happening in hospitals across the country right now?

For More

What students can do: Is the health care system in your area under strain years after the COVID epidemic impacted staffing and funding? Research local news sources to find out.

You might also want to read and discuss this story: “Majority of Americans unhappy with health care system: AP- NORC poll”

A health care worker enters the room of a patient who is being treated for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia, U.S., January 15, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah Beier

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