Registered nurses at UPMC Altoona walked off the job at 7 am on Tuesday. The members of SEIU Healthcare handed their patients over to some of the 270 replacement nurses contracted for by the hospital. UPMC officials said as of early evening, 172 RNs had also crossed the picket line and come to work.
Hospital officials say everything went smoothly despite the walkout. They commented the striking nurses for their professionalism in turning the care of their patients over to the replacement RNs.
The UPMC Altoona nurses say they're ready to be back on the job by 7 am on Wednesday, but the hospital says it needs to transition them back into their positions.
The registered nurses,members of SEIU Healthcare say the main sticking points in the labor dispute with the hospital are staffing guidelines and benefits. UPMC Altoona says the two sides are still stuck on economic issues, with the nurses asking for more than the hospital can afford to give.
Further talks are scheduled for February 18, 19, and 20.