From Cranberry to Pittsburgh to Altoona, We Stand Together

Donna Hoge, a Nursing Assistant at UPMC Sherwood Oaks, attempts to deliver a letter to UPMC CEO Jeffrey Romoff

Donna Hoge, a Nursing Assistant at UPMC Sherwood Oaks, attempts to deliver a letter to UPMC CEO Jeffrey Romoff

My name is Donna Hoge, and I work at UPMC’s senior living facility in Cranberry, Pa., called Sherwood Oaks. I’m a nursing assistant there, so I spend a lot of time with residents and I work hard to make sure they stay healthy, active and comfortable. As you can imagine, my job is both very demanding and very rewarding.

My residents feel like part of my family. My coworkers and I aren’t just responsible for their physical health – we’re there with them every day, often more than their families. That’s why the way UPMC runs Sherwood Oaks is so troubling.

Even though I have worked at Sherwood Oaks for ten years, I still struggle to make ends meet. UPMC’s low pay forces high turnover at Sherwood Oaks. This causes confusion for some of our most vulnerable residents and unnecessary disruption in their lives and our ability to provide quality care.

When my coworkers and I heard that UPMC workers in Pittsburgh are standing up for better treatment, it hit close to home. So, earlier this week, we took a bus down to UPMC corporate headquarters to let its executives know that regardless of where its workers live – Cranberry, Altoona, Erie or Pittsburgh – we stand together for good jobs.

Supporters watch as workers from UPMC Sherwood Oaks deliver a letter to UPMC CEO Jeffrey Romoff

Supporters watch as workers from UPMC Sherwood Oaks deliver a letter to UPMC CEO Jeffrey Romoff

On Monday, we tried to deliver the letter below to UPMC CEO Jeffrey Romoff. But when we approached the building, security locked all of the doors and denied us entrance.

I’m going back to Cranberry determined to fight for good jobs at every UPMC facility. Enough is enough – it is time for UPMC to be a true partner to western Pennsylvania and the tens of thousands of workers our community depends on.

Donna Hoge
Nursing Assistant – UPMC Sherwood Oaks

September 22, 2014
UPMC CEO Jeffrey Romoff
600 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Dear Mr. Romoff,

We are the frontline caregivers at UPMC’s Sherwood Oaks in Cranberry, Pennsylvania. Every day we provide the best quality care for our residents and are proud of the work we do. UPMC Sherwood Oaks is a key community asset that plays a vital role in our local economy. All of us share a common stake in the growth and success of it. But with that success comes a serious set of responsibilities to the residents, front line care givers, and the community.

Over the past three years we have watched as UPMC has increased fees to the residents and brought in over one million dollars in profits. Instead of using that money to invest in the strength and health of our community, UPMC has used it to lease private jets and make millionaires out of executives while those of us who care for our most cherished and vulnerable are struggling to pay for gas in our cars.

The poverty wages UPMC Sherwood Oaks pays us are not just bad for our community; they are bad for our residents. Folks come to Sherwood Oaks for our high quality care – we have a good reputation. To keep that, we need a strong set of workers who will stay here long-term.

Unfortunately, UPMC’s poverty wages mean high turnover. Many residents are worried and scared about the “strangers” in their homes.

Is this how a charity acts?

Just like UPMC workers in Pittsburgh, Altoona, Erie and across western Pennsylvania, we need UPMC to work with us to build strong and healthy communities by paying us family-sustaining wages so we can raise our children and get ahead in the new economy.

Signed,
The Members of UPMC Sherwood Oaks

What kind of Pittsburgh do you want?

On Thursday, fast food workers were arrested in a nonviolent civil disobedience protest outside a Wilkinsburg McDonalds, joining other fast food workers around the nation who walked off the job in a massive demonstration demanding $15 an hour and a union.

On Thursday, fast food workers were arrested in a nonviolent civil disobedience protest outside a Wilkinsburg McDonalds, joining other fast food workers around the nation who walked off the job in a massive demonstration demanding $15 an hour and a union.

What kind of Pittsburgh do you want?

Last week, thousands of people answered that question, calling for better jobs and better communities.

On Thursday, fast food workers were arrested in a nonviolent civil disobedience protest outside a Wilkinsburg McDonalds, joining other fast food workers around the nation who walked off the job in a massive demonstration demanding $15 an hour and a union.

“What workers are doing is extremely courageous,” said Bellevue McDonald’s worker Chris Kumanchick, who attended the Wilkinsburg protest. “For them to do that for us and the other unions trying to form, it shows their intent in the strongest way possible. We are doing this not just for ourselves but for everybody else.”

Just days earlier, UPMC and fast food workers stood with casino workers, security officers, adjunct instructors and retail workers in Pittsburgh’s annual Labor Day parade, where they marched alongside union leaders, community members and elected officials to say working families want a city with good union jobs to help lift themselves out of poverty.

“We are in a moment where workers from many different sectors are standing up together,” SEIU Healthcare PA president Neal Bisno told the 

0901 Labor Day PGH workers rising standards

Tribune-Review.

UPMC pays thousands of front-line healthcare workers 8% to 30% less what it takes to live in Pittsburgh, making it impossible for them to get by. For the cost of UPMC’s $51 million corporate jet alone, the institution could raise all of its Pittsburgh service workers to a median wage of $15 an hour. The fast food strike follows city-wide protests on July 30, when more than 30 members of the clergy, community leaders, students, and UPMC workers were arrested calling on UPMC to stop standing in the way of healthcare employees who want a union.

“This isn’t just about my coworkers and me, and it isn’t just about UPMC,” said Jarrell Reeves, UPMC floor technician at Shadyside hospital. “It’s about creating a different Pittsburgh for our families. This is about the people who built this town and keep it running, and we’re all rising up to ask our employers to work with us to strengthen the middle class.”

UPMC Worker, Leslie Poston, joined in support of Fast Food workers across Pittsburgh as part of a national day of action.

UPMC Worker, Leslie Poston, joined in support of Fast Food workers across Pittsburgh as part of a national day of action.

Keystone Research Center economist Stephen Herzenberg wrote recently in the Post-Gazette that lifting UPMC wages would have an effect on the broader service sector of retail, caregiving, and restaurants as those jobs cannot move offshore.

 The people who prepare and serve our food, clean our hospitals and teach our kids should not have to work overtime just to scrape by. With the support of the community, Pittsburgh workers from every sector are standing up to their employers and saying we need an economy that works for everyone.

Together, we can raise up Pittsburgh!