As a pastor in this community and as someone who loves this community, I feel as though it is my responsibility to weigh in on the struggle of the registered nurses at UPMC Altoona.
Churches understand the concept of community. They also know that a successful community must have access to quality, affordable health care. Because of that, I support the registered nurses at UPMC Altoona as they negotiate their contract.
These nurses are our advocates. They are standing up for our right to have quality, affordable health care close to home. They have asked for and deserve a fair contract.
Unfortunately, UPMC management literally crossed out the word fair in one proposal.
What's wrong with fair? What scares UPMC about that word? There is no doubt that fairness is at the cornerstone of every working relationship.
As a society, we've seen the devastating effects that a lack of fairness brings with it. We have also seen that those who seem to hold fairness hostage are generally unaffected by its loss. As negotiators fly in from all around the country to negotiate this contract, they will eventually leave once the deal is done and we are left to deal with its lack of fairness.
We are the ones left to deal with the decreased staffing ratios and the reduced PTO for the nursing staff, which will undoubtedly lead to overworked and burned out nurses (these are the tenets that UPMC has offered). All of this ultimately leads to less than stellar patient outcomes and lower patient satisfaction. That's not fair.
And so, as a community, we will stand with you because you have stood up for us. As a pastor in this community, I commit to pray for a resolution and to pray for fairness.
And to the nurses who are fighting for us, I thank you for speaking out and advocating for our community. You folks are better than fair.
Jason M. Schwartzman