NEWS DAY | New nurses’ strike? / Erlinder in jail / Gay in St. Cloud

First make concessions – then we might bargain. That seems to be the message from 14 Minnesota hospitals to the Minnesota Nurses Association, which has asked to return to the bargaining table, but is also planning another strike vote.

The Minnesota Nurses Association will vote June 21 on authorizing an open-ended strike. They also charge that hospitals are engaging in an ongoing selective lockout of hundreds of nurses after last week’s one-day strike.

Minnesota attorney Peter Erlinder returns to court in Rwanda tomorrow (June 17), after three weeks in a Rwandan jail. His family is emphasizing serious, pre-existing health conditions, reports MPR, as he seeks release on bail. Human rights issues loom large:

Erlinder is believed to be the first foreigner to be charged under Rwanda’s broad rules against so-called genocide denial. Human-rights groups and the legal community fear Erlinder’s detention could set a dangerous precedent for defense lawyers.

The St. Paul attorney is defending alleged perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide at the U.N.-backed [International Criminal] tribunal in Tanzania. The tribunal wrote Tuesday to the Rwandan government requesting Erlinder’s release, saying he is protected by diplomatic immunity. Erlinder doesn’t deny the mass killings, but he has filed a lawsuit accusing the current Rwandan president of helping trigger them.

“There are no gay people in St. Cloud.” That’s what Sean Lathrop, a former St. Cloud police officer, says he was told when he asked for time off or permission to use vacation time to participate in a gay pride event. Lathrop is suing the city, contending that he was discriminated against because of his sexual orientation, and that he suffered repercussions at work when his sexual orientation became known. The St. Cloud Times reports:

The lawsuit says Lathrop was told that if he were to resign police officials would see to it that the internal investigations of him would be stopped. They reiterated that Lathrop’s personnel file would stay “clean” if he resigned, but that if he did not, it would be difficult or impossible for him to find another job.

Politics and/or gossip? In today’s news – Representative Betty McCollum’s opponent is in the headlines, but not the way she would wish. Republican nominee Teresa Collett is explaining a drunken driving conviction and a careless driving citation – also alcohol-related.

Pawlenty is hot on the presidential trail, traveling to California and setting up fundraising PACs in Iowa and New Hampshire.

And, as Tarryl Clark‘s bid to unseat Michele Bachmann gets national attention from the DCCC and NPR, Bachmann defended BP and described the president’s proposed oil spill victim escrow as a “redistribution-of-wealth fund.”

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