Inside UPMC: Robert Ross

Robert Ross

Our fight for a voice at work is about more than UPMC. It’s about being able to help provide the best quality of care for our patients as well protect the health of those of us who keep the hospital clean. We want to work together with UPMC to improve jobs and ensure that front line workers can have improved safety at work.

My name is Robert Ross, and I work hard every day at UPMC Magee Women’s hospital to make sure that patient rooms are clean and sterile. I’m proud of the work I do to help patients heal.

Last year UPMC started making us use a new cleaning chemical called OxyCide. Every time I use it, it makes my eyes burn, and my throat swells up making it hard for me to breathe.  The longer I use it, the worse it gets.

Take Action: Sign The Resolution To Tell UPMC To Respect Workers Rights

At first I thought that it might have just been me having these problems. But when I started asking my co-workers about it I learned I wasn’t alone. Many of them were having headaches, nose bleeds, burning eyes, and vomiting. At least one of my co-workers ended up in the ER after cleaning with OxyCide.

When we tried to talk to managers about how it was making us feel, they responded with things like “It’s easier on the furniture,” or “just don’t breathe”.

That is why I’m coming together with my co-workers to stand up for $15 and a union at UPMC.

By standing together we have already made an impact. OSHA has recently started investigating UPMC Presbyterian hospital after my coworker filed a complaint over OxyCide.

Our fight for a voice at work is about more than UPMC. It’s about being able to help provide the best quality of care for our patients as well protect the health of those of us who keep the hospital clean.  We want to work together with UPMC to improve jobs and ensure that front line workers can have improved safety at work.

You can help us. Sign onto the resolution to tell UPMC to end its illegal treatment of workers who are trying make our hospitals and our jobs the best they can be for our community. Click Here.

Together we can make it our UPMC

Robert Ross
Housekeeper – UPMC Magee

Nurses at Allegheny Health Network hospital vote to form union

AHN’s approach stands in sharp contrast to that of UPMC, which a Federal labor judge found has “engaged in widespread and egregious misconduct,” including illegally firing, threatening, and surveilling workers who are coming together to build Pittsburgh’s middle class by organizing their union.

AHN’s approach stands in sharp contrast to that of UPMC, which a Federal labor judge found has “engaged in widespread and egregious misconduct,” including illegally firing, threatening, and surveilling workers who are coming together to build Pittsburgh’s middle class by organizing their union.

On Monday March 9th, an overwhelming majority of registered nurses at Canonsburg General Hospital, part of the Allegheny Health Network, voted to come together to form a union with SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania so they can have a stronger voice to advocate for their patients, hospital and community.

Merri Beth Allen, a nurse who has worked at the hospital for 32 years said, “My coworkers and I work hard every day to provide the best care to our patients who are also our parents, our pastors, our neighbors and friends. We are in a changing health care environment, and through our union we can work with management to make our hospital even better for patients and the community who we serve and for each other.”

The nurses are forming their union with SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, joining service workers at Canonsburg General Hospital who have been members of the union for over 30 years.

“The 25,000 nurses and healthcare workers of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania are proud and excited to welcome the Canonsburg General Hospital RNs,” said Neal Bisno, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania.   “Our union commends the leadership of AHN and the hospital for respecting the nurses’ right to choose to form a union, and we join the nurses in committing to work with management to make CGH the best that it can be for patients and the community served by the hospital.”

AHN’s approach stands in sharp contrast to that of UPMC, which a Federal labor judge found has “engaged in widespread and egregious misconduct,” including illegally firing, threatening, and surveilling workers who are coming together to build Pittsburgh’s middle class by organizing their union.

“My co-workers and I work hard every day to care for our patients, and just like the nurses at Canonsburg, we want what’s best for our community.” Said Leslie Poston, a unit secretary on the heart and lung transplant floor at UPMC Presbyterian. “We are forming our union to achieve a voice on the job, and pay and benefits at the area’s largest health system that can lift thousands of us out of poverty.”

Despite $1.1 billion in profits in the last three years and multi-million dollar executive pay, UPMC pays thousands of front-line healthcare workers well below what it takes to live in Pittsburgh, making it impossible for them to get by.

It is time for UPMC to stop bullying Pittsburgh and standing in the way of thousands of workers who are working together for good jobs and a healthy community.

City Leaders Vow to Stand with UPMC Workers

City Council stands with UPMC workers in their fight to win $15.00 and the right to form their union without interference or retaliation and that Council will seek ways to move our City forward and build a better and more equal future for all workers.

City Council stands with UPMC workers in their fight to win $15.00 and the right to form their union without interference or retaliation.

A year ago, I stood with my coworkers and hundreds of our supporters from all across the city to demand better of UPMC. We were so proud of Pittsburgh’s determination to raise our voices about a charity that doesn’t really act like one. And we’re so encouraged to see that now, a year later, we’ve been joined by adjuncts, casino workers, Wal-Mart workers, fast food workers – all of whom are saying it’s time to address income inequality in our city. It’s time for workers to have a voice, a union and $15.

Yesterday morning, the Pittsburgh City Council unanimously passed a resolution affirming its commitment to stand with me and my coworkers in our fight to win $15 and the right to form a union without fear of retaliation.

Take Action: Sign Onto The Resolution – Click Here

City Council Member Natalia Rudiak said: ”One year ago, employees, taxpayers and patients stood side by side to demand ethical, fair, and just behavior from UPMC. But our region’s largest employer continues to act above the law. Today, city leaders are putting the non-profit on notice. Over the past year our commitment has grown stronger and stronger, and we are committed to standing with UPMC workers in the fight for $15, a union and a more equal future for all workers.”

Despite the unity of workers across our city, UPMC continues to hold Pittsburgh back. Just this November, the federal labor board ruled that UPMC continues to engage in “widespread and egregious misconduct”. Right now, there’s an OSHA investigation underway concerning a cleaning product that makes workers very sick, though, as one manager put it, it’s easier on the furniture. And UPMC’s official position on jobs at the largest employer is that family-supporting jobs are a good idea, but that’s not realistic.

We work for our region’s largest employer – one with $4 billion in reserves – and want to better ourselves and our families. Pittsburgh believes that if our largest employer isn’t setting a good example, they’re setting a bad one, and that will affect all of us in the city.

Join UPMC workers and the City Council by signing onto the resolution and tell UPMC Pittsburghers need $15 and a union. Click here to sign

Together we can make it our UPMC.

Veronica Shields
Pharmacy Tech – UPMC Mercy