UPMC tentative deal with nurses allows for 30% wage increases over 3 years

Members of Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania have reached a tentative agreement with UPMC Altoona (Pa.), part of Pittsburgh-based UPMC, the Altoona Mirror reported Dec. 20.

The proposed three-year deal must still be approved by nurses. The SEIU negotiation committee is recommending ratification, Jan Fisher, president of UPMC Altoona and Everett, Pa.-based UPMC Bedford, told nurses in an email shared with Becker's.

Under the tentative deal, 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, Ms. Fisher said.

Specifically, the proposed contract 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 would be retroactively paid beginning with the first pay period in November 2022.

She also highlighted the following contract details:       

  • 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).       
  • A new accelerated career ladder that she said provides additional opportunities for nurses in inpatient and procedural areas to earn wage increases. Step wage increases of 5 percent, 4 percent and 5 percent would be available in the ladder.       
  • Boosting the hourly wage shift differential, charge pay and BSN differential.       
  • The addition of a night program differential "to align with recent UPMC changes."

Ms. Fisher told nurses the proposed deal also allows the hospital to be in a strong position for nurse recruitment. She said the proposed contract would raise starting rates for nursing positions to $28 per hour for nurses without a BSN and $29.50 per hour for nurses with a BSN.

"Your contributions are vital to serving our community and patients — now, and for many years to come," Ms. Fisher wrote. "Our UPMC Altoona team rises strong because you are with us. You deserve to be aptly recognized and supported with this type of holistic package within the bargaining agreement."

Kim Heverly, RN, president of the UPMC Altoona chapter of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, also praised the proposed deal. 

"Nurses are proud to stand up for our patients and our community in the face of a multibillion-dollar healthcare corporation," Ms. Heverly said in a statement shared with Becker's. "UPMC Altoona is dealing with an unprecedented staffing crisis and our goal in negotiations was to reach a contract that will stabilize our hospital."

She added that nurses "had to push for every single penny of investment for this hospital and our patients in this agreement. We're proud we negotiated a union contract that forces UPMC to invest in our community."

The union's goal was to make sure UPMC put "patients over profits," Ms. Heverly said.

Union members will vote on the agreement Dec. 21. 

Read the full report here.

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