Minneapolis, MN (Minnesota News Network)  --  An estimated 48-hundred members of the Minnesota Nurses Association go on strike this morning, picketing in shifts for the next seven days.  

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Their contract with Allina Hospitals expired May 31st.  Negotiations over health insurance and non-economic issues like nurse-to-patient staffing ratios are said to be at an impasse. The nurses say they expect to be escorted out of the hospitals at shift change.  

Allina has called in about 15-hundred replacements to handle the work load, although some elective surgeries will be delayed.

(NOTE:  Hospitals affected are -- Abbot Northwestern in Minneapolis, Mercy in Coon Rapids, Phillips Eye Institute in Minneapolis, United in St. Paul and Unity in Fridley.)