UPMC Workers Fight For Good Jobs Gets National Attention

DoC pic Grant smWe made big news in Pittsburgh last month as 2000 of us stood with the workers of UPMC, taking their demands for better wages, the elimination of their medical debt, and the right to form a union without harassment directly to UPMC headquarters.

And that news has traveled across the nation. It is the story of a powerful employer keeping workers in poverty and retaliating against them for trying to form a union in the new economy that is much bigger than Pittsburgh. UPMC workers are at the center of the fight in this country to end low-wage work and get the economy moving again.

Read the full story here: A Union Aims at Pittsburgh’s Biggest Employer

NYT reporter Steve Greenhouse writes:

Christoria Hughes earns $12.85 an hour after six years as a food-service worker at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. ‘That sounds good on paper, but when you bring it home, it’s less than $350 a week,’ said Ms. Hughes, who has money deducted for health insurance and is helping to raise several granddaughters. ‘UPMC claims they pay everybody these fantastic wages. It’s not enough to live in Pittsburgh.’”

UPMC made $1.3 billion in profits in the last three years, yet UPMC workers – Pittsburghers like you and me – who dedicate years to keeping the hospital running, not only do not take home enough to make ends meet, many are on public assistance and in medical debt to their own employer.

As the region’s largest employer, UPMC sets the tone for jobs and the economy. It can strengthen and grow the middle class.

In the article, Mayor Peduto says:

“It’s the largest employer in the state of Pennsylvania. They have the means to help their workers break the cycle of poverty and join the middle class. They probably have more of an ability to do that than any other entity.” 

We are at the center of the fight in this country to end low-wage work and get the economy moving again. The community – people from all corners of the Pittsburgh region, faith leaders, elected officials, UPMC workers – is standing in solidarity for good jobs here.

For a strong and healthy Pittsburgh, it’s past time for UPMC to put people over profits.