Nurses strike deal with Children’s Hospitals

ST. PAUL (AP) — Nurses have reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract with Children’s Hospitals of Minnesota, after union nurses had authorized their negotiating team to call for a strike.

The Minnesota Nurses Association says negotiating teams agreed on contract terms early Saturday after meeting for than 21 hours. The hospital approved an insurance plan that no longer forces nurses to pay more of the rate hikes than the hospital does, which was a sticking point in negotiations.

The company also agreed to provide the nurses with their largest wage increases in a decade, offering raises of 3%, 3% and 2.25% in the next three years.

Nurses voted Thursday to authorize a strike, which no longer applies. The vote to approve the contract is scheduled Thursday.

Contract talks began in March.

Combat ship named for Twin Cities launches

MARINETTE, Wis. (AP) — A shipyard on the border between Wisconsin and Michigan was for one day crowded with Minnesotans who showed up Saturday to watch the launch of the U.S. Navy’s newest combat ship, named in honor of the Twin Cities.

The USS Minneapolis-St. Paul was dropped sideways into the water Saturday at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin, about 55 miles (88 kilometers) north of Green Bay. The ship is designed to be fast and agile in order to conduct missions close to shore.

The ship’s sponsor, Northfield, Minnesota native and Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy Jodi J. Greene, christened the ship by smashing a bottle of champagne against its bow, the EagleHerald reported. Greene said her role as sponsor has allowed her to reconnect with her Minnesota roots in the last few years.

“Being the Navy sponsor of the future USS Minneapolis-St. Paul is the honor of a lifetime,” she said.

Hiring events held at state prisons

ST. PAUL (AP) — Minnesota is holding employment fairs at maximum-security prisons with the aim of allaying potential applicants’ safety concerns and expediting the hiring process, after the Legislature promised the state Department of Corrections $10 million to boost recruitment and retain staff.

The department set itself a target of hiring 78 new officers, including 67 this year, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Correctional facilities at Stillwater and Oak Park Heights hosted the events, and they are desperate for new recruits following a rash of inmate violence in recent years.