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

OxyCide is supposed to make hospitals cleaner and safer for patients, but what about the staff that has to use it?

“A lot of my co-workers have complained about respiratory issues, like they were having trouble breathing. A lot of them would complain about their eyes being irritated,” says Justin Sheldon, a housekeeper at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. “I’m concerned about the health effects that this product poses to not only my coworkers, but to the patients.”

 

OxyCide is supposed to make hospitals cleaner and safer for patients, but what about the staff that has to use it? 

More UPMC Facilities Under Federal Scrutiny

“We know that we have basic rights at work, and we’re  working hard to make sure that UPMC respects those  rights. We’re disappointed that UPMC supervisors keep  breaking the law to try to stop us from forming our union.  UPMC needs to commit to respecting our rights and  letting us form our union without illegal harassment.”  - C.J. Patterson, Patient Care Technician  UPMC Presbyterian

“We know that we have basic rights at work, and we’re
working hard to make sure that UPMC respects those
rights. We’re disappointed that UPMC supervisors keep
breaking the law to try to stop us from forming our union.
UPMC needs to commit to respecting our rights and
letting us form our union without illegal harassment.”
– C.J. Patterson, Patient Care Technician
UPMC Presbyterian

New Investigation Follows Recent Ruling that Found “Egregious and Widespread” Violations

For the third time in two years, the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against UPMC, charging them with 13 new violations of our rights at work. The new charges include occurrences of coercion, surveillance and disparate enforcement of rules at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, UPMC Mercy, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC and University of Pittsburgh Physicians.

Nineteen supervisors are listed in the federal complaint, including three who were also named in previous labor violation complaints against UPMC. The complaint charges that UPMC as a single employer is responsible for labor violations occurring in their facilities. These charges come just three months after a historic decision by National Labor Relations Administrative Law Judge Mark Carissimi found that UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside “engaged in such egregious and widespread misconduct so as to demonstrate a general disregard for employees’ statutory rights.”

The new charges include coercively interrogating employees about their support for forming a union, enforcing rules and discipline differently based on union support and restricting employees from talking about forming a union while allowing other non-work related conversations.

It is critical that all UPMC employees know what our rights at work are so that we can protect ourselves when UPMC supervisors break the law. By standing together we can hold UPMC accountable to following the law, and we can form our union so that we have a permanent voice for fairness at work.

Labor judge scolds UPMC in legal ruling

It also ordered UPMC to post a three-page notice informing health system staff that the NLRB “has found that we violated federal labor law” and that the law gives UPMC employees the right to “form, join or assist a union; choose representatives to bargain with [UPMC] on your behalf; act together with other employees for your benefit and protection; choose not to engage in any of these protected activities.”

 

Labor judge scolds UPMC in legal ruling

Standing up for the future of Pittsburgh

Supply clerk Jim Staus was fired not long after he wore a union button to his job at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. After the ensuing year-long litigation, UPMC offered Jim a significant financial settlement to walk away.

Award-winning Pittsburgh filmmaker Phinehas Hodges captures Jim’s story as he struggles with the decision to accept the money, or to fight on, in hopes of better jobs for generations to come.

This is Jim’s story:

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