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.
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.
Together we can make it our UPMC
Housekeeper – UPMC Magee