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In the Midst of a National Nurse Shortage Crisis ... Nurses Celebrate Landmark Legal Settlement That Will Help Ensure Fair Compensation & Bring More RNs to the Bedside
Date:3/9/2009

g sure that hospitals invest in the kind of quality care that patients deserve," said Cathy Glasson, RN, of the Nurse Alliance of SEIU.

"By helping to ensure competitive methods for setting RN wages, we can attract more new nurses to the profession, bring non-practicing nurses back to the bedside, and improve patient outcomes," said Anne Jacobs-Moultrie, a registered nurse and Vice President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.

The class action suit ultimately seeks to recover three times the amount that nurses in the class were underpaid. The proposed settling class consists of direct-care nurses who were employed by certain Albany area hospitals between June 20, 2002 and June 20, 2006. Northeast Health recently announced an intended merger with two other area healthcare companies, St. Peter's Health Care Services and Seton Health, but this will not effect the settlement.

The settlement comes at a time when there is an intense shortage of bedside nurses in the Albany area and throughout the country. Because of the aging population and advances in medical technology that require higher-skilled staff, more nurses are needed than ever before. According to a report by the Institute for Women's Policy Research, there is currently a shortage of more than 13,000 nurses in New York State alone and over 1.2 million nursing positions will need to be filled nationally over the next 5 years. The report shows that the shortage is due in part to artificially low wages caused by collusion amongst hospital employers in a given region.

Numerous medical studies have shown that better nurse staffing levels lead to higher quality patient care, fewer medical mistakes and lower mortality rates. Nurses believe that setting fair, competitive wages will also produce a benefit for hospitals in the long-term by allowing facilities to meet their staffing needs without resorting to mandatory overtime or expens
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SOURCE 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
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