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Victory! We’ve Protected Hundreds of Prison Nurses and Our Public Health

Just today, we received word from the PA DOC’s Secretary John Wetzel that, because of our hard work, plans to contract out nursing services in the DOC will not proceed. Instead the Department of Corrections has elected to continue the present level of contracted medical, psychiatric, and pharmacy services.

“We are thrilled that the Department of Corrections has chosen to recognize the irreplaceable value of our service and abandon plans to outsource healthcare services in the DOC,” said Renee Walligan, nurse from SCI,”As frontline nurses who work in our correctional facilities, we know the risks we face each day and the need for having trained, experienced Commonwealth healthcare professionals in place to keep our prisons secure and the public safe.”

This victory tonight could not have been possible without the determined efforts of all of our members and allies who have worked hard for months to get our message out by holding ten informational pickets, lobbying our legislators, signing petitions by the hundreds and packing the room at a legislative hearing in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. We saw that our voices were being heard as legislators stepped up from both sides of the aisle and sponsored legislation that would prohibit state funds from being used to privatize nursing in the DOC.

And finally our efforts have paid off. As a result of our unity and resolve, we have protected over 800 good family sustaining jobs here in Pennsylvania, 300 of which belong to our
members.

We could have not done this alone – courageous men and women from across our union and other organizations – including AFSCME and the PA State Corrections Officers Association, as well as our legislators that stood up for us, helped us reach our goal.

Tonight is a victory for hardworking healthcare professionals all across Pennsylvania!

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