Executive Order leaves behind Minnesota health care workers looking to help

Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-46 last weekend, which allows nurses from other states to work at health care facilities in Minnesota in order to address the staffing shortages faced by long-term care facilities and hospitals across the state. While intended to help our struggling health care systems, the order ignores the increasing numbers of Minnesota health care professionals who have been furloughed despite their willingness to roll up their sleeves and help combat this pandemic.

Due to the pandemic, handfuls of health care facilities in the state have opted to furlough their employees in order to stay afloat. In response, the Minnesota Nurses Association – the state’s member-driven union for Minnesota nurses – has attempted to negotiate with hospitals to allow furloughed nurses to work in a different facility where they are needed while furloughed from their regular jobs. Hospitals have refused, leaving many nurses forced to choose between living without a paycheck or jeopardizing their ability to return to their job after the pandemic.

Minnesota nurses have called on the governor, legislature, and hospitals to work together on creating a statewide labor pool made up of the state’s furloughed, unemployed, and retired nurses – all of whom are highly trained workers who want to be put to work wherever they are needed.

We must work diligently to find a solution that allows us to put Minnesota health care workers back to work before allowing out-of-state workers to fill in the gaps in staffing our health care systems are currently facing. We have the workers. Let’s find them work. (Executive Order 20-46)