BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Over two dozen UAB Emergency Room night shift nurses refused to clock in Monday night, citing, among other things, a lack of equal compensation.
Several nurses spoke out in front of the hospital about the difficulty of serving during the COVID-19 crisis.
“We are here fighting for equal compensation,” a nurse on the scene said. “We’re fighting for what we deserve.”
“It has been very overwhelming” during this surge of COVID-19, another nurse said. “We don’t feel appreciated. We want someone to come down and be willing to negotiate with us.”
The nurses said that patient care was not being compromised by the collection action.
Alabama State Nurses Association President Lindsey Harris spoke outside UAB Monday night about the conditions nurses are facing across the state and beyond.
Harris said that nurses in Alabama nurses, on average, are paid eight percent less than their colleagues in surrounding states.
She also discussed the pressure that COVID-19 has put on hospitals in Alabama.
“It has increased our patient load and caused a lot of stress on our nurses, on staff, just on health care in general,” Harris said. “Hospitals need help. Hospitals need more nurses… And at some point, we have to think about our staff that are here.”
UAB released a statement on the issue Monday evening.
“The COVID pandemic and recent Delta variant surge have stressed the healthcare system and put tremendous pressure on our staff – including nurses on the front lines. We are aware of our nurses’ concerns and are working to address them while adjusting operations to provide the highest quality care to our patients who need us. We encourage a dialogue with our employees – particularly in difficult times like these. Our community can help us support our nurses and all our employees by wearing masks and getting vaccinated to curb the pandemic that continues to put pressure on those who have been working to serve our state.”UAB Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Terri Poe
After their earlier statement, UAB said just before 10 p.m. Monday night that “after discussing their concerns with hospital leadership this evening, emergency department staff joined their colleagues to care for patients; this important dialogue will continue.”