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Nurses rally at General Mills shareholder meeting

By staff

Minneapolis, MN – On the morning of Sept. 27, 400 striking Allina nurses from Abbott, United, Unity and Mercy hospitals, along with members of many unions and community supporters, rallied in the street in downtown Minneapolis, tying up early morning rush hour traffic. The rally was held in front of the hotel where General Mills was having its annual shareholder meeting.

The nurses were there to send a message to John Church, a senior vice president of General Mills and chair of the Allina board of directors, to use his power as chair to reach a decent contract for nurses.

The rally was energetic and spirited with nurses chanting “Where’s John Church?” “Nurses on the outside, trouble on the inside” and “Nurses united will never be defeated.” Allina nurses who got tickets to go inside texted that the chanting could be heard loud and clear – and speakers were having trouble giving their speeches.

Community people and union members spoke at the rally. Ann Maczuag said, “As educators, we know better than most what it means when corporations attack our public institutions. We share many similarities – working with diverse communities, doing more with less, are mostly women, and are advocates for families we serve. That’s why my union, The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, stands with nurses in this fight today, tomorrow and as long as it takes!”

After the meeting the three Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) proxy shareholder, who were inside, gave reports. Julie Anderson, a mental health nurse said she told the shareholders and directors, “I’ve been assaulted many times and we need security personnel.” Adequate security for patient and staff safety is one of the demands. Barb Forshe said, “It was harder to get in to the meeting then I thought. They actually had security.” She also told attendees at the shareholders meeting, “We want to be on the inside taking care of patients, not on the outside.”

Negotiations between MNA and Allina resumed Sept. 27. The negotiating team was sent off to resume talks knowing the nurses are standing firm and resolved to do what it takes to get a good contract.

Rally & March in Support of Striking Nurses Friday, September 30, from 4-7 pm @ Anderson United Community School, 1098 Andersen Ln, Minneapolis March on the Allina Headquarters and show your solidarity with nurses as they get ready to launch their Red October on the picket lines. Organized by Workers United for Nurses.

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