UPMC nurses approve contract with potential for 30% wage increases

Members of Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania have approved an agreement with UPMC Altoona (Pa.), part of Pittsburgh-based UPMC.

Registered nurses at the hospital voted overwhelmingly to approve the new three-year deal Dec. 21, according to a union news release shared with Becker's. Union nurses had negotiated with UPMC administrators for more than five months. They described the new agreement as "a historic investment in care in their community."

"Each and every nurse here is dedicated to our patients and this community," Kim Heverly, RN, UPMC Altoona chapter president of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, said in the union release. "That's why we fought so hard to make sure UPMC kept the promises they made when they took ownership of our hospital. They promised real investment in care, and we made them deliver and we're going to keep holding them accountable to this community."

The new contract means eligible nurses can potentially earn more than 30 percent in wage increases over the life of the contract through adjustments, annual increases and career ladder opportunities, Jan Fisher, president of UPMC Altoona and Everett, Pa.-based UPMC Bedford, told nurses in an email shared with Becker's.

The deal includes wage increases of 8 percent (5 percent wage adjustment and 3 percent annual increase) in the first year of the contract. Ms. Fisher told nurses the 5 percent wage adjustment will be retroactively paid beginning with the first pay period in November 2022.

The contract also includes a 5.75 percent annual increase total over the second and third contract years (3 percent in the second year and 2.75 percent in the third year).   

The union said other highlights of the agreement include:       

  • An accelerated career ladder with opportunities for additional wage increases.       
  • Increases to the hourly wage shift differential, charge pay and BSN differential.       

"This is a great package for our nurses that supports our goal to invest in our people. Our nurses work incredibly hard to care for our community — they deserve to be aptly recognized for their efforts," Ms. Fisher said in a statement shared with Becker's. "This unprecedented investment represents our commitment to improved wages, career trajectory opportunities and retention benefits. We look forward to a new year of opportunity to retain talented staff and welcome many new nurses to join our extraordinary team."

The contract covers more than 500 UPMC Altoona nurses and will expire in 2025.

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