Alabama nurses are watching UAB nurses protest

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 7:23 PM CDT
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BIRMING HAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Nurses at UAB are back on the job after a temporary walkout last night. The nurses were protesting being understaffed, overworked and under paid due to the latest COVID surge in patients.

A statement from UAB said they understand the nurses’ problems and concerns and they are addressing those issues and promising to continue emergency pay as well as bonuses and incentives during the pandemic. One state nursing official said those problems need to be addressed or they will continue to grow across the state.

About 20 Emergency Department staff started their shift two hours late Monday night in a protest of working conditions. A UAB statement said dayside staff continued to stay on during this period, so no patient was endangered.

“The patients were taken care of and no one was left unattended to,” Dr. Lindsey Harris, Alabama Nursing Association said.

The head of the state nursing association said nurses do take an oath to care for their patients and that remains a top concern. she came to UAB last night and said the protest was seen by many across the state.

“I did get concerns, emails. Concerning text about what is going on in the state. I can tell you, I’ve spoken with nurses outside of the state experiencing the same thing,” Harris said.

Harris said staffing and pay issues have to be addressed. UAB in a statement says they are continuing to look at long and short term solutions to reward their employees. Harris says if those problems are not addressed UAB and state hospitals face losing their nurses to jobs in other states.

“The one thing we don’t want is for nurses, even our seasoned nurses, to leave due to pay to surrounding states,” Harris said.

Harris said Alabama ranks 8% lower in nurses pay to surrounding states. The average registered nurse’s salary in Alabama is about $60,000.

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