UPMC nurse talks will continue today

The Friday negotiations that provided hope that the registered nurses at UPMC Altoona wouldn’t follow through on their planned one-day strike Feb. 11 have been extended.

The two sides, which negotiated from mid-afternoon until about 9 p.m. Friday, will begin again today at 9 a.m., according to SEIU Healthcare PA spokeswoman Karen Gownley.

The hospital “reached out” to offer additional negotiations this week after the nurses voted overwhelmingly to issue the strike notice Monday, even though the nurses had rejected what the hospital originally called its “last, best and final offer,” made the previous week.

The main issues are staffing levels, pensions and health insurance, the nurses have said. They have retreated from an earlier demand to turn sometimes-ignored staffing guidelines into mandates, they said.