BEAVER (KDKA) — Nurses at Heritage Valley Beaver Hospital hit the picket line outside the hospital Tuesday morning.

The hospital’s 500 nurses started picketing at 7 a.m. for a one-day strike.

The union approved the strike earlier in July after negotiations stalled.

“We are very upset that management actually walked away from the table on July 11, and that’s what pushed us to be out here today. We hope that this wakes them up enough so that we can get to the table and negotiate and get a fair contract,” registered nurse Nicole Clendennen said.

The Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania union is upset because the hospital wants to raise health care premiums for nurses by 50 percent and exclude spouses from coverage. Similar moves by companies have been spurred by changes that are part of the federal Affordable Care Act.

“We hope the community gets behind us because we’re fighting for their healthcare. We’re fighting for our healthcare,” registered nurse Molly Romigh said.

“We work at the bedside, we know what these patients need. We go to management. We want them to listen to us,” registered nurse Jill Richner said.

They union is planning a solidarity rally on the picket line at noon Tuesday and community rally at Irvine Park in Beaver at 5 p.m.

Their last contract expired on June 30.

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Lisa Washington