WHAT'S AT STAKE
Who: 12,000 nurses represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association at 14 Twin Cities hospitals.
When: The nurses have scheduled a one-day strike for Thursday if no agreement is reached on their contract, which expired May 31. Hospitals say once they have prepared for a walkout, there is no guarantee they would call the nurses back after one day.
Affected hospitals: Abbott Northwestern, Mercy, Unity, United, Phillips Eye Institute, St. John's, St. Joseph's, Bethesda, North Memorial, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, Park Nicollet Methodist, Fairview Southdale and the Riverside campus of University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview.
Issues: Nurses want formal nurse-patient staffing ratios and are seeking 3 percent pay increases in each of three years. Hospitals have proposed annual raises of 0, 1 and 2 percent, plus cuts in pension and health benefits, and more flexibility in scheduling nurses.