UPMC Workers React To $15 Win

Leslie Poston Unit Secretary, Heart and Lung Transplant Floor - UPMC Presbyterian Hospital

Leslie Poston
Unit Secretary, Heart and Lung Transplant Floor – UPMC Presbyterian Hospital

“UPMC executives said they would never pay workers $15 an hour, but hospital workers came together to stand up for our rights and for better pay, and we won the raises our families and communities need and deserve,” said Leslie Poston who works at UPMC Presbyterian and is paid $13/hour. “Our union has lifted up worker voices, built support throughout the community and together, we have made UPMC change. We will continue standing together until UPMC ends its anti-union campaign, provides affordable access to care to all patients and treats all Pittsburgh residents with the respect we deserve.”

We can arrange interviews with Leslie and other UPMC hospital workers to discuss the announcement.

Background:

 When hospital workers stood together, they win for Pittsburgh. Through their efforts, Pittsburgh City Council launched an investigation into UPMC’s wages, which found UPMC is the “low wage maker” not just for Pittsburgh but for the entire region. Hundreds of Washington Hospital workers just won a pathway to $15/hr and 1,200 hospital workers at Allegheny General Hospital have come together in their new union to ensure quality care for every patient and make sure every job can support a family.

While UPMC stockpiles its $4 billion reserves and pays 31 executives more than $1 million each, workers have to choose between groceries and healthcare bills and others are bullied for trying to have a real conversation about better jobs and better healthcare. Just two years ago, UPMC Senior Vice President Greg Peaslee told the New York Times that $15/hour is “a great notion, but it’s not realistic.”

Instead of working with hospital workers who want quality care and strong communities, UPMC illegally fires and intimidates frontline workers who are trying to form their union. The federal government has issued a series of complaints against UPMC alleging over 100 violations of workers’ rights. A federal judge ruled that UPMC has engaged in systemic and egregious violations and ordered them to reinstate illegally fired workers. UPMC has yet to remedy many of these violations.

After hospital workers took their agenda for change to city leaders, Pittsburgh City Council launched a Wage Review Committee to investigate the impact of UPMC’s wages on our city, and City Council Member Rev. Burgess called UPMC wages a “national disgrace.”

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