After 6 days of negotiations, 97 percent of the nurses voted in favor of the new contract by 10 Friday night at the Hampton Inn.
Nurses say, not being able to return to work after their one day strike on February 11th, was perhaps the most emotional part of this process. They say after that, they got the staffing guidelines they wanted, and compromised on wages, health care and retirement. They say they accomplished what they wanted and are proud of the bond made between the nurses and community.
UPMC Altoona released the following statement:
We are pleased that our nurses have overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract with the hospital. We believe that the contract with SEIU Healthcare PA is fair to our nurses and financially prudent for the hospital and our community. It will help the hospital be financially viable in the current health care environment.
The elements of the contract are consistent with what UPMC has done or is doing at its other hospitals, and allows for a successful integration of our registered nurses into UPMC policies and programs.
With the pay and benefits package in the contract, we expect that, like other UPMC hospitals, UPMC Altoona will be able to successfully recruit and retain top talent while offering a package that is affordable for the future. As all negotiations do, these talks required give and take by both sides on the way to an agreement.
Staffing language remains essentially the same as the previous contract. Salary increases are no more than what is budgeted across the UPMC system. The nurses accepted pension and health care benefits consistent with the UPMC programs.
Tune in to WTAJ-TV for continuing coverage of the agreement between nurses and UPMC Altoona.
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