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Associated Press, Published May 13 2010

Hundreds of nurses picket over contract impasse

ST. PAUL (AP) — Hundreds of nurses picketed outside hospitals in St. Paul as the possibility of a strike loomed on the horizon.

Twin Cities hospitals and 12,000 nurses remained far apart on contract issues; including staffing, salary, pensions and benefits for retirees and part-timers.

Six metropolitan hospital systems want to retain or expand their flexibility in moving nurses to understaffed units on any given day. The Minnesota Nurses Association says nurses shouldn't be sent to unfamiliar units because of increasingly specialized hospital care.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press says nurses aligned with Allina, Children's, Fairview, HealthEast, North Memorial and Park Nicollet health systems will vote Wednesday on a proposed contract. A strike is a possibility as early as June 1.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.