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Nurses strike ends at UPMC Altoona

By: WJAC Web Staff

ALTOONA, Pa. -- A one-day nurses strike in Blair County has ended.

Nurses at UPMC Altoona ended their strike at 7 a.m. Wednesday and are in the process of being transitioned back to work, hospital officials said.

Thirty-one nurses were called back to work Wednesday, with the remaining nurses being transitioned back to work through Monday, hospital officials said. Nurses should wait for a call from their supervisor to return to work.

The hospital hired temporary nurses to staff the facility while the striking nurses were picketing. The temporary nurses are contracted for at least four days.

Hospital officials said all operations remained normal during day long strike and other UPMC Altoona facilties opened as normal Wednesday morning.

Officials said 182 nurses crossed the picket line during the strike.

"It saddens me that a community hospital that our families have supported has been changed to an enterprise," said Registered Nurse Kim Heverly.

Nurses said after administrators walked out of contract negotiations for the second time they had no other choice but to hold the one day strike.

"There is tension there, these coworkers and friends and they made a decision to go against them and work with the patients," said Chief Medical Officer UPMC Altoona Dr. Linnane Batzel.

Contract negotiations are expected to resume next week. Both hospital officials and nurses said they are hoping to reach a deal and both sides said the patients and the community are their top concern.

"It's been crazy, I'm so inspired and proud of everyone out here honking we have labor people, friends, family, neighbors, politicians, it's been great," said Registered Nurse Paula Stellabotte about the Tuesday strike.

No security incidents were reported during the strike, hospital officials said. If a contract is not reached they are prepared to continue bringing in the temporary agency.

 
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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times

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