I am writing to express my wholehearted support for the registered nurses of UPMC Altoona, who have been preparing to go on strike. It is important to recognize that this strike isn't for higher wages or more vacation time. The issues at stake are those that nurses in Altoona have earned over the years: appropriate nurse/patient ratios, competitive wages and comprehensive benefits.
Without these, UPMC Altoona is going to become a revolving door for newly trained nurses who work there only until they gain the experience necessary to get a job at a more competitive hospital. The nurses who have years of invaluable work experience will no longer be a fixture in Altoona. Patient care will no doubt suffer without these trained nurses.
Through striking, nurses hope to demonstrate the need for UPMC Altoona to maintain the current benefit and pay structure and guarantee that measures such as proper staffing levels are in place so patients receive the highest level of care.
The nurses of UPMC Altoona aren't asking for unreasonable things. They want to be fairly compensated for the work they do, be properly staffed and ensure that the rules and regulations that the hospital administration imposes do not have an adverse affect on their patients. They deserve our support in this strike.
The writer's mother is a UPMC Altoona registered nurse represented by SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania.
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