UPMC hospital workers just won a huge victory for the city of Pittsburgh – the largest wage raise from a private employer in the country. UPMC executives said it wasn’t possible, but we proved that by standing together we can win real changes for our families.
Are we stopping now? Heck, no! $15 is a great start for the workers who keep our city healthy. But for our city to be as strong as we know it can be, we need a real voice on the job, affordable access to care for every patient, and for UPMC – our largest employer, landowner and charity – to respect Pittsburgh residents. We need union rights.
Even after being cited for widespread and egregious violations of federal labor law by an administrative law judge, UPMC continues to violate our right to form a union without fear of retaliation, intimidation and harassment. That’s not progress for the city we love.
Pittsburgh needs affordable access to care for every patient.
Pittsburgh needs an end to the unlawful anti-union campaigns.
Pittsburgh needs the respect we deserve.
By standing together, workers have won a huge victory for working people. To keep winning for our families, we need union rights.
Stand with us on April 14th for our care, our families and our city.
“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.
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.”
UPDATE: 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
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.
On Labor Day, hospital workers from all across the region marched for $15 and a union. They were spreading the word about our three point agenda to make sure that our biggest industry is lifting up our city’s people. We’re calling for $15 minimum and a union for every worker. For adequate staffing so we can provide the best care possible. And for affordable access for every patient to the hospital of their choosing.
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.
Darlene Nicholson, 6 years AGH lab processor
Leslie Poston, 11 years UPMC Presbyterian unit secretary
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
1200 workers are joining the union—the largest group of hospital service and technical workers ever to organize in Pittsburgh!
I am a patient care tech at UPMC, and I know that whatever health system we work for, frontline hospital workers across Pittsburgh face a lot of the same challenges. We also share the same vision for an eds and meds economy that is built on good, family sustaining jobs and a city where all patients have access to high quality, affordable healthcare.
That’s why across Pittsburgh today, UPMC workers are cheering AGH workers’ success. We’re excited by this breakthrough and more determined than ever to stand up for good jobs and a union at UPMC, and to make sure our giant health system respects our rights.
It’s a new day in Pittsburgh.
Hospital workers are rising, building a movement to create a stronger voice for healthcare workers and strengthen our city’s middle class.
“We are thrilled to come together for our families, our patients, and all of Pittsburgh,” said Donald Copper, an advanced life support technician who has worked at AGH for nine years. “We are at the frontlines of the biggest industry in Pittsburgh and we are excited to work with each other and management to create a stronger, better future for our hospital.”
Patient Care Tech, UPMC Shadyside
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.
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
Housekeeper – UPMC Magee