Registered nurses at UPMC Altoona ratified a new three-year union contract on January 30th. The contract focuses on the nurses maintaining their staffing language to help them care for the community as well as making improvements to help with the recruitment of new staff across the hospital.
“Every nurse wants to give their very best to each patient. With our staffing guidelines, we’ll be able to spend the time with our patients and deliver the top-quality care our community deserves,” said Paula Stellabotte, who has been a nurse at UPMC Altoona for 30 years. “We’re excited to maintain and keep building on our existing job standards to make sure that experienced, skilled nurses come to our hospital and stay at our hospital.”
Throughout the negotiations, nurses remained focused on their top priorities: improved staffing protections and competitive wages that keep pace with the current Blair County market. Blair County residents deserve the very best nurses, and the new contract ensures that UPMC Altoona can attract and retain dedicated, experienced nurses. As healthcare demands change, nurses know what patients need. When nurses are part of the decision-making process, patients get better care, and the community gets lower healthcare costs.
“Our union contract is as much about the safety of the Blair County community as it is the safety and wellbeing of nurses. Strong union contracts for nurses build safer, healthier communities for patients,” said Jaime Balsamo, an RN at UPMC Altoona.
The new contract covers nearly 700 employees at UPMC Altoona and will expire in 2023. The employees are members of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, which represents 45,000 nurses, nursing assistants, and other health care and home care workers statewide.