My partner is a nurse at UPMC Altoona, so I have been on the sidelines of countless conversations about this topic with his co-workers.
More than anything, I've heard them talk about staffing ratios and patient care concerns that would result from UPMC's takeover.
It always comes back to the patient and providing the best care.
Far be it from me to understand all of their medical jargon, but when it is explained to me, everything follows logically. Their concerns are reasonable and well articulated.
What I hear from these nurses is a deep concern for their patients' health and well-being. Much less has to do with their compensation.
And the part that does have to do with their compensation is all about maintaining what they currently have and simply not stepping backwards in time. They're not asking for more, they're asking for the same.
If you have kids to feed or mortgage payments, do you really want a worse family insurance plan? A worse retirement plan? Worse scheduling and staffing rules? Less incentive for personal growth? How would you feel if this happened to you in your place of employment?
How would you feel if the entity that was imposing these changes on you was not a struggling non-profit operating in close margins, but a monumentally wealthy integrated delivery system that took in $10 billion last year, tax free?
Is this how you come to Altoona?
UPMC is willing to pay millions to staff for a strike, but they won't even keep the status quo for the nurses that have served this community for years.
They'll shell out almost double hourly wages to out-of-state employees instead of investing in the skilled and caring workers here in Altoona.
Invested in my community? Give me a break.