[font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]by a 160-28 vote, the state house of representatives passed a bill late wednesday that would ban mandatory overtime for nurses and other direct caregivers in hospitals and other health-care facilities.
house bill 957, introduced by state rep. george hasay, r-union township, forbids nurses, nursing assistants and other workers who provide direct patient care to work overtime except in emergency situations. the bill, first introduced by hasay in march 2003, must pass the senate before it becomes law.
the bill's passage was a victory to more than 400 registered nurses at wilkes-barre general hospital who walked the picket line for three weeks in 2003. their opposition to mandatory overtime was one of the major sticking points during heated negotiations and the subsequent strike and lock-out by wyoming valley health care system. in the end, while management agreed that nurses could refuse mandatory overtime in certain circumstances, elimination of the practice was not a part of the contract settlement.
"it's so great it passed. this has been a hard fight," said sandy sabbatini, a registered nurse in the emergency room who served as president of the wyoming valley nurses association during the strike.
full story: nurses are pleased state house oks mandatory overtime ban