Coronavirus: Alabama nurses stage protest outside UAB Hospital

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A group of night shift nurses at an Alabama hospital briefly refused to clock in for work Monday, citing long hours caused by the coronavirus pandemic and unequal pay.

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The nurses gathered outside UAB Hospital in Birmingham to protest, AL.com reported.

Lindsey Harris, president of the Alabama State Nurses Association, spoke outside the hospital and addressed the concerns nurses have statewide as the pandemic caused another spike in cases. Harris said nurses in Alabama were paid, on average, 8% less than their colleagues in other states, WIAT reported.

“Many of our patients that are coming in with COVID are unvaccinated. That has really increased patient load and stress on nurses,” Harris told AL.com. “Our nurses are still heroes, our nurses are still resilient, they still come to work every day to care for people here in the state of Alabama. Nurses are tired. This is definitely a cry for help. ... I’d love to see equal pay, I’d love to see our nurses having that safe staffing.”

According to UAB Hospital officials, the nurses ended their protest shortly after 10 p.m. CDT and clocked in to work, the television station reported.

In a statement, UAB Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Terri Poe said officials are aware of the nurses’ concerns.

“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,” Poe said. “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,” Poe added. “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.”

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