Speak Out Against UPMC in Pleasant Hills

BullyUPDATE: UPMC has delayed the hearing. We’ll update here when it’s rescheduled.  Click here to contact us and stay connected on this important issue facing our community.

For years, UPMC has tried to bully its way to a monopoly on care. Now, the healthcare giant is trying to muscle into Pleasant Hills. UPMC wants to build a new 300,000-square-foot hospital off of Route 51, less than a mile from Jefferson Hospital. But this isn’t about community well-being or patient care — it’s about greed. As the Post-Gazette reported, Pleasant Hills residents are fighting this development because we know that a new UPMC hospital is bad for community health care and bad for our neighborhood.

Here’s the good news: UPMC has to get zoning approval for this massive development project. At the first zoning board meeting, more than 150 people showed up, the majority speaking out against UPMC’s proposal. There were so many people that the board had to reschedule the meeting for a bigger venue.

Please join us to protect our community hospital and say NO to UPMC.

When: Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. – UPMC has delayed the hearing. We’ll update here when it’s rescheduled.

Where: Pleasant Hills Zoning Board meeting, large group instruction room, Pleasant Hills Middle School

UPMC worker Lou Berry is heading to The White House!

It’s not every day you get invited to the White House. On Wednesday, October 7, Lou Berry, a local resident and housekeeper at UPMC Montefiore will head to Washington, D.C. for the White House Summit on Worker Voice convened by President Obama. As the White House website notes, “changing your workplace starts with a conversation.”

It’s not every day you get invited to the White House. On Wednesday, October 7, Lou Berry, a local resident and housekeeper at UPMC Montefiore will head to Washington, D.C. for the White House Summit on Worker Voice.

It’s not every day you get invited to the White House. On Wednesday, October 7, Lou Berry, a local resident and housekeeper at UPMC Montefiore will head to Washington, D.C. for the White House Summit on Worker Voice convened by President Obama. As the White House website notes, “changing your workplace starts with a conversation.”

Lou took some time this week to share how he’s feeling ahead of the trip.

I am a proud native of Braddock, PA – born and raised in the town that built America. Braddock has also been known as a fighting town. Braddock is also where billionaire industrialist Andrew Carnegie built his first steel mill, the Edgar Thompson Works, and where between there a mile across the river, in Homestead, some of the most deadly labor battles in US History took place.

This is part of who I am and why as a worker, I fight for better. I’m also a husband, father, grandfather, son, and a lover of all Pittsburgh sports. I’m a musician, fashion lover and fisherman.

I stand up for all of my coworkers and I’m getting them involved in forming our union. Corporate greed, income inequality and large predatory corporations are eating away at the middle class in America and it’s time to address this. I’m grateful for the opportunity to visit the White House and share the struggles of low income folks and the working poor and what we’re doing to improve our workplaces and our communities.

You can follow my trip to Washington on Twitter.com/Pghhospitalwork.

Hospital Workers Launch Movement for Better Jobs, Stronger City

Hospital workers from every hospital in the city deliver their agenda to elected leaders.

Hospital workers from every hospital in the city deliver their agenda to elected leaders.

This week, we brought our call for $15 and a union to members of our City Council and the Mayor’s Office and presented city leaders with an agenda that will put Pittsburgh’s community needs first.

Our employers spend a lot of time fighting each other, but hospital workers are stepping up with a plan for the best way forward for our families and our city. Hundreds of workers from every Pittsburgh hospital and our supporters are signing on to an agenda that calls for:

  • Access to care for every patient regardless of insurance;
  • Adequate staffing in every hospital; and
  • $15 and the right to form a union for every hospital worker

Join the movement for a stronger Pittsburgh where every hospital job is a good job, and read more about our conversation with the Post-Gazette. 

Hospital workers are the largest workforce in our city, working for the largest, most influential industry. We’re going to make changes here like they are in cities from Los Angeles to New York, where workers and elected leaders are lifting up their communities.

Together, we can make sure every hospital job is a good job and patients get the quality, affordable care they need.

Sign on to the Hospital Workers Rising agenda for good jobs, quality care and healthy, stronger communities! And like us on Facebook for the latest updates on how we can strengthen our hospitals and our city together. 

 

Thank you,

Darlene Nicholson, 6 years AGH lab processor

Leslie Poston, 11 years UPMC Presbyterian unit secretary

Hospital Workers Stand for $15 and a Union

We work for the biggest industry in our city. Our work helps save lives and gets people the care they need to get well. It takes a special kind of person to do what we do. But too many of us are struggling to afford rent, groceries and our own healthcare. My co-worker Marcus sometimes has to work over 60 hours just to be able to pay his basic bills.

The executives of our giant health systems are fighting each other for patients and profits, but hospital workers like me and Marcus are standing up for better jobs and better healthcare.

Frontline workers from AGH, UPMC, and other hospitals in our area are standing up for access to care for everyone, adequate staff in every hospital, and $15 an hour and the right to form a union without interference. Watch our new video to see what Hospital Workers Rising is all about.

Like and Share to stand with Hospital Workers who are standing up for a healthier Pittsburgh.

Posted by Hospital Workers Rising on Friday, July 24, 2015

Frontline workers from AGH, UPMC and other hospitals in our area are standing up to say what we and our communities need.  We’re saying this means access to care for everyone, adequate staff in every hospital and $15 an hour and the right to form a union without interference. That’s what Hospital Workers Rising is all about.

From Los Angeles to Massachusetts, to New York, workers are standing up to improve their lives and their communities and they are winning.  Workers and their elected officials are taking bold action to lift up their cities. Now it’s our turn in Pittsburgh.  In two weeks, we’re going downtown to call on our own elected officials.  Let’s rise up together for good jobs, quality care and a stronger Pittsburgh.

It’s our time to make history. Join us.

Mary Ann Williams
UPMC Presbyterian

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

We Can Win

Recently, we won our jobs back as part of an historic legal decision against UPMC.

FB Graphic ShareThe federal judge’s ruling didn’t end there. In addition to ordering UPMC to put us back to work, the judge awarded us full back pay and ruled that UPMC must admit its guilt and respect the rights of all its employees. Our victory is a victory for all UPMC workers. Now more than ever, we know the movement for justice at UPMC cannot be stopped. Like many of you, we will not stop until we win fair wages, affordable healthcare, and decent treatment at our jobs.

UPMC tried everything to stop us. From hiring high-priced out-of-town lawyers to offering us significant financial settlements to walk away. It’s time we asked: Why does UPMC fight so hard to keep its workers from forming a union? The answer is simple. Because they know we can win.

We know very well that UPMC will try to drag out the process of bringing us back by spending thousands of dollars on legal appeals, dollars that would be better spent on improving patient care and paying hospital workers a living wage. But the truth is: the judge’s decision isn’t going anywhere and neither are we.

It wasn’t easy for us to turn down UPMC’s money offers. Like just about every UPMC worker, our families struggle to get by. But this fight is bigger than any one of us. We know — just like UPMC does — that UPMC workers are going to form our union. By standing together, we will win better hospitals, better jobs, and a better Pittsburgh.

Together we can make it our UPMC

Ron Oakes, Transport

Jim Staus, Supply

Al Turner, Shuttle Driver

URA Board Tells UPMC Straighten its Act

URA LogoEarlier this month, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the agency that oversees economic development for our city, heard from residents, patients and workers about the need to hold UPMC accountable before investing more public money in its business.

Georgeanne Koehler, a former employee of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, told members of the URA board: “I think it’s great that UPMC wants to build a neonatal intensive care unit because it will save lives. [But] this is about a community that has given millions and millions to UPMC. And in return, UPMC closes the door on those of us who want to see our longstanding doctor, it pays workers wages that hold our entire economy back and it fires workers when they speak up about improving jobs.”

Georgeanne was joined by UPMC workers, Reverend Rodney Lyde, and others from the community.

Leaders of the URA heard us.

In an unprecedented move, members of the Board decided to send a letter to UPMC expressing their concerns [link] about how UPMC treats people in our communities and calling on the healthcare institution to do more to “address these financial and moral issues in a responsible manner.”

The letter reads: 

 “It is hereby conveyed to the board and executive leadership of UPMC – in recognition of its leadership role in the community, its status as the largest private employer in the Pittsburgh region, and a critical stakeholder in the economic and fiscal health of the region and its people – that the Board of Directors of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh strongly urges UPMC to take positive action toward improving the wages of UPMC service workers, allowing its workers to exercise their right to organize without undue interference, maintaining a strong network of regional hospitals that provide reliable access to diverse and economically challenge communities, expanding and improving care using UPMC’s own considerable balance sheet for capital investment instead of relying on increasingly scarce public funds such as RACP, improving and reinstating relationships with all of the region’s major health insurance providers to ensure continuity of access to UPMC doctors and facilities, and establishing a strong leadership positon among non-profit stakeholders in the region by investing in and supporting the City, County and School District by providing for the substantial infrastructure and public services costs enjoyed across your wide real estate holdings .”

Click Here To Read The Full Letter

Faced with the growing calls for change, UPMC is on notice that it can’t continue business as usual. When Pittsburghers stand together and stand up to UPMC – just as we need before the URA board last week — we are making changes that strengthen our city.

We are Making it Our UPMC.

Whatever It Takes

This summer my co-workers and I led a march of hundreds of us to take our demands for good jobs straight to UPMC’s corporate headquarters. Many of us were willing to show UPMC that we’re going to do whatever it takes to put an end to their illegal treatment of workers – and 28 of us were arrested.

Stand With Us – Join Our Pre-Trial Rally – RSVP on Facebook Here

This Monday we are heading to court to answer to our charges. Once again, we will stand together united and continue our calls for UPMC to stop holding us back. This new economy should be providing a path out of poverty and into the middle class for thousands of us in Pittsburgh – but that won’t happen unless workers like me have a voice on the job.

Can you stand with all of us who were arrested while calling on UPMC to stop holding Pittsburgh back?

Rally to support UPMC workers and community members arrested standing up for good jobs.

Monday, November 24th – 11:30 AM
Municipal Court. 660 First Ave, Pittsburgh.
Click here to RSVP on Facebook

Together we can make it our UPMC

Joe Kennedy
Cook – UPMC Presby

Thank You.

"We know that the fight isn’t over. And together we will continue fighting until UPMC does right by our city." - Ron Oakes

“We know that the fight isn’t over. And together we will continue fighting until UPMC does right by our city.” – Ron Oakes

Thank you for all of your support and for continuing to stand with me and my coworkers as we fight for good family sustaining jobs at UPMC.

Yesterday we celebrated the decision from a federal administrative judge who ruled that the way UPMC Presby-Shadyside has been treating me and my co-workers is illegal and that me and 3 of my co-workers must be reinstated and given back pay. We were joined by City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, City Councilwoman Deb Gross, State Senator Matt Smith and State Representatives Dan Frankel and Ed Gainey, along with community supporters from all over Pittsburgh.

When UPMC fired me for the first time, I felt like there was no way I could stand up to UPMC and win. But with your support and the support of my co-workers, we fought back and won. That’s why when UPMC fired me for a second time I knew that what it did was illegal and that if we stood firm in our resolve we would be vindicated. I was right.

This is a major victory and step in our journey towards holding UPMC accountable. We need your support and solidarity now more than ever as we call on UPMC to put an end to its illegal campaign of harassment and intimidation of its workers. We need to know the community won’t back down in calling on the employer to stop its legal games and start working with us to improve jobs for our families.

We know that the fight isn’t over. And together we will continue fighting until UPMC does right by our city.

Together we can make it our UPMC.

Ron Oakes

p.s. Here is some of the great coverage of yesterday’s victory rally:

Judge Orders Former UPMC Employees Be Reinstated – WESA.FM

SEIU, workers celebrate NLRB ruling – Pittsburgh Business Times

UPMC ordered to reinstate workers who tried to unionize employees – Post Gazette

A Textbook Example of a Boss’s Campaign to Destroy a Union – In These Times

NLRB rules in favor of, reinstates workers at UPMC