Community Coordinating Committee

Make It Our UPMC unites UPMC employees, faith and community leaders, elected officials, healthcare providers and activists, parents and teachers, bus-riders and people across our region to call on UPMC to act like a real charity by playing by the rules, partnering with the community to build great neighborhoods, and making every job a family-sustaining job.

Community Coordinating Committee:

Teri Collins – Co-Convener
Unit Secretary, UPMC Montefiore
Teri was born and raised in Pittsburgh. She has worked at UPMC for 32 years, first as a housekeeper and now as a unit secretary at Montefiore. She loves working at UPMC and enjoys making patients’ experience as smooth as possible. Teri is Making It Our UPMC because she wants to restore the patient-centered approach and family atmosphere that was there when she started 32 years ago. She wants to ensure that workers are treated with respect and fairness and to make things better for the younger workers coming into UPMC.

Natalia Rudiak – Co-Convener
Pittsburgh City Councilwoman
Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak represents Pittsburgh’s fourth district on City Council where she was born and raised. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from George Washington University through scholarships from the Pennsylvania and national AFL-CIO. Natalia was named one of the 40 Under 40 by PUMP and Pittsburgh Magazine in 2009, and was voted Young Democrat of the Year in 2011 by the Young Democrats of Allegheny County. She is also the President of the Pennsylvania Young Elected Officials Network, a project of the People for the American Way Foundation.

Nina Esposito -Visgitis – Co-Convener
President, Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers
The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers unites thousands of educators, students and parents across the city, to advocate for sound, commonsense public education policies, for the highest academic and conduct standards, and for excellence in public service through cooperative problem-solving and workplace innovations.

Reverend John Welch  – Co-Convener
Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network
The Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN) is a network of congregations and organizations in Southwestern Pennsylvania committed to drawing together people of faith to act powerfully on local and regional issues of justice and fairness through the process of community-building, direct action, and negotiation with decision makers.

John Haer
Fundraising Coordinator
John Haer grew up in Warren, Pennsylvania and began working in the social justice movement while in college. He came to Pittsburgh in 1969 and has been a source of wisdom and inspiration to activists and organizations ever since. Since retiring as the Executive Director of the Pittsburgh local of the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, John has been devoting his time and talents to reducing income inequality and protecting our environment.

Moshe Marvit
Fellow – The Century Foundation
Moshe Marvit practices law in Pittsburgh, and is the coauthor, with The Century Foundation senior fellow Richard D. Kahlenberg, of Why Labor Organizing Should be a Civil Right: Rebuilding a Middle-Class Democracy by Enhancing Worker Voice (2012). He has worked at the National Labor Relations Board and was an editor at the Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal. His current research focuses on labor organizations, excluded workers, and employment and civil rights.  He received a BA in philosophy at Penn State University, an MA in political science from the University of Chicago, a JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law, and an MA in history from Carnegie Mellon University. His research on labor and employment law and policy has been published in a variety of law reviews, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The New Republic, and elsewhere.

Father Regis Ryan
Executive Director – Sto-Rox Family Health Center
The Sto-Rox Neighborhood Family Health Center is a financially self-sustaining not-for-profit healthcare agency that serves thousands of area residents every year. The Center was Pennsylvania’s top recipient of Affordable Care Act grant funds to expand services and improve facilities. The Health Center provides quality care for people at every stage of life – from pre-natal to senior years.
Father Regis Ryan is beloved in the Pittsburgh area for his decades of tremendous service, for his moral clarity, and for his kindness. As Chris Crytzer in the Pittsburgh Catholic puts it, Father Ryan “has an incredible way of making people feel special. There could be 100 people in a room, but he always focuses on the person he’s talking to […] There isn’t anything this humble man won’t do. I’ve seen him on his hands and knees cleaning up after an event in the cultural arts facility that bears his name. You need only meet Father Ryan for a moment to feel the power of his uplifting presence and share in his joy. His enthusiasm is contagious; his joy is real.”

Bill Bartlett
Western Pennsylvania Region Director Action United
Action United is a membership organization of low and moderate income Pennsylvania families. Action United members work to build power through organizing communities to win changes on the issues that are important to them.

Lou Berry
Housekeeper, UPMC Montefiore
Lou Berry lives in Braddock, where he was born and raised. As a housekeeper at UPMC Presbyterian and Montefiore Hospitals for the last seven years, Lou ensures that the hospital is clean so that patients leave healthy and happy. Lou is leading the effort to form a union at UPMC because he believes workers need a voice at work, affordable health care, and decent wages that will allow them to provide for their families.

Neal Bisno     
President, SEIU Healthcare PA
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania unites nearly 25,000 health care workers from all areas of the health care industry. Working together, nurses, caregivers, dietary workers, lab technicians, housekeepers and home-care workers organize and advocate to protect patient care, expand access to quality health care for all, and to improve working conditions for front-line caregivers.

Senator Jim Ferlo
State Senator Jim Ferlo is from Highland Park and represents Pennsylvania’s 38th Senatorial District. Senator Ferlo has been practicing his own passionate style of community activism since the late 1960s and was first elected to Pittsburgh City Council in 1987, where he served two terms as Council President. Elected to the Pennsylvania Senate in 2003, Senator Ferlo currently serves as the Minority Chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, as Minority Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, and additionally serves on the Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure, Education, and Finance Committees.

Helen Gerhardt
Organizer Pittsburghers for Public Transit
Pittsburghers for Public Transit is a volunteer, grassroots organization of riders, drivers and other concerned Pittsburghers who advocate for mass transit because it’s essential for healthy environments, economies, and  communities.

Erin Gill                
Pennsylvania Health Access Network
The Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN) is a statewide coalition of organizations working to protect high quality health insurance coverage for individuals and businesses and to expand coverage to the uninsured. PHAN works to promote change by mobilizing affected constituencies, including consumers, health care providers, business, labor, the faith community, and the general public to press for a more accessible and affordable health care system. The coalition participates in the Consumer Voices for Coverage initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This $15 million initiative strengthens existing advocacy networks in 12 states, including Pennsylvania.

Amanda Green
Allegheny County Councilwoman
Amanda Green Hawkins is first and foremost a wife and a mother of a precocious toddler, and she manages to serve as the Director of the Civil and Human Rights Department and Assistant General Counsel for the United Steelworkers, the largest industrial union in the United States.  She has represented the Union in arbitrations, administrative proceedings, and federal courts around the US and its territories.  She also serves as Councilmember on Allegheny County Council where she represents 100,000 residents, and as a Member of the Board of the Port Authority of Allegheny County.  Amanda is a member of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee.  Each general election, she volunteers as a voter protection attorney, and firmly believes that every eligible voter should vote and have their vote counted.  She is also a member of the AFL-CIO’s Lawyers Coordinating Committee (LCC) and the LCC’s Minority Caucus.  She has received numerous awards for her leadership in local politics and in the community, and is an alumna of Duke University and Northeastern University School of Law.

Tony Helfer
President, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 23
Local 23 is about helping workers achieve better wages, better benefits and safer working conditions. Despite the challenges of soaring health care premiums, costly prescription medications, retirement insecurity and economic instability, Local 23 is a powerful voice for working women and men, leading efforts to protect and improve the livelihoods of all workers. Uniting over 13,000 workers in the tri-state areas, UFCW 23 is one of the largest local unions in Pennsylvania.

Michael Lamb
Controller, City of Pittsburgh
Michael Lamb was elected Controller of the City of Pittsburgh in November of 2007. As Controller, Michael Lamb has put a focus on making Pittsburgh government more transparent.  In addition to being City Controller, Lamb serves on the boards of the Kane Foundation, the Catholic Youth Association, the Downtown Pittsburgh YMCA and the 3 Rivers Wet Weather Demonstration Project. He is a member of the Mount Washington – Duquesne Heights Community Development Corporation, and sits on the Board of Fellows of the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics.  Lamb was also the founding co-chair of A Plus Schools, the community alliance for Pittsburgh Public education.

Daniel Lavelle
Pittsburgh City Councilman
Daniel Lavelle was born and raised in the Hill District section of the City of Pittsburgh, part of the 6th District that he now represents. Lavelle’s public service is built around advocating for working-class families, seniors, fair governance, and good democracy. His strong work ethic comes from a tradition of family entrepreneurs whose businesses have served as cornerstones for empowering local residents and strengthening our City through good and bad times.

Antonio Lodico 
Mon Valley Unemployed Committee
The Mon Valley Unemployed Committee is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping unemployed and dislocated workers gain access to the tools they need to remake their lives. MVUC also helps workers whose rights have been violated to seek redress and make change at law-breaking workplaces.

Erin C. Molchany
State Representative
While working her way through college at Duquesne University, Erin decided early to dedicate her life to helping others. At the Emergency Services Department of the American Red Cross’s Southwestern PA Chapter, she learned the importance of community leadership and strength of a united community in difficult times. As State Representative for the 22nd District, her priorities include securing Pennsylvania’s infrastructure by sustainably investing in transportation and mass transit, strengthening our commitment to public education, encouraging job creation, and expanding training opportunities to meet the needs of a 21st century economy that will work continuously to improve quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.

Ron Oakes
Transporter, UPMC Presbyterian
Ron Oakes was born and raised in Pittsburgh. He has worked as a transporter at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital for two years. After Ron began talking to his coworkers about forming a union, he was fired by UPMC. In February, he won his job back as part of a historic settlement of labor charges against the employer. But just weeks after being reinstated, UPMC fired him unfairly again. He is hopeful that the National Labor Relations Board will once again charge UPMC with treating him unfairly for his union support and help him win his job back. His favorite part of the job is working with his patients and making sure they get where they need to go in the hospital. Ron wants to Make It Our UPMC because he wants respect for the work that he does, a living wage, and improved quality care which comes from frontline staff having a say in how the work is done.

Father Jack O’Malley
Labor Religion Coalition of Western Pennsylvania
The Labor-Religion Coalition is a growing alliance of unions, religious institutions, youth groups and individuals who share a commitment to challenging economic injustice. Both the labor movement and religious institutions share a long history of activism for social justice and both root this work in a fundamental respect for the dignity of each worker. Together unions and religious institutions can advance workers’ rights.

Barney Oursler 
Pittsburgh UNITED strives to advance social and economic justice in the Pittsburgh region by working to ensure that working families and low and moderate-income communities are able to share in the prosperity that is generated by economic growth and development. As a part of the national network the Partnership for Working Families, Pittsburgh United promotes strategies that transform the way that economic development impacts our communities so that all of us may benefit from growth in Pittsburgh’s new economy.

Stephen Palonis
President Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85
Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 85 is the organization of the 1,300 men and women who move Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. Thousands of riders in our region depend on public transit to get to work, to medical appointments, and to the grocery store every single day. ATU Local 85 members are the bus drivers, light rail operators, mechanics, and support personnel who make safe, efficient, affordable public transportation possible. ATU Local 85 is a voice for working families and an advocate for access to mass transit for everyone in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.

Leslie Poston
Unit Secretary, UPMC Presbyterian
Leslie Poston was raised by a single parent in St. Clair Village on the South Side of Pittsburgh. Now she lives in Wilkinsburg and has two children and three grandchildren of her own. Leslie works as a unit secretary on the heart and lung transplant floor at Presbyterian Hospital. Making sure patients get where they need to go and receive the correct tests and procedures is her favorite part of the job. As a member of the Make It Our UPMC Movement, she is fighting for better wages and benefits, and most of all the respect and dignity UPMC advertises but does not deliver to its own employees.

Jessie Ramey, PhD
Jessie Ramey, Ph.D., is a historian of working families and U.S. social policy. She is an ACLS New Faculty Fellow in Women’s Studies and History at the University of Pittsburgh. Her new book, Child Care in Black and White: Working Parents and the History of Orphanages, won the Lerner-Scott Prize in women’s history from the Organization of American Historians, the Herbert G. Gutman Prize from the Labor and Working-Class History Association, and the John Heinz Award from the National Academy of Social Insurance. Dr. Ramey writes about public education policy on her blog Yinzercation, which serves as the on-line home for a grassroots public education advocacy movement. She is regularly published in the national media and has been recognized twice by the White House with invitations to meet with President Obama’s senior policy advisors.

Fred Redmond
International Vice President, United Steel Workers
Redmond joined the Steelworkers Union when he went to work at Reynolds Metals Co. in McCook, Ill. in 1973. He became an active member of Local 3911 almost immediately, serving as shop steward, grievance committee member and chairman and vice-president. Before taking his current position, he served three terms as president of the Local. The United Steelworkers of America brings together 1.2 million active and retired members to fight for a better life for all workers — in union halls, at the work place, in the courts and in legislatures. Formed in the 1930s, the Steelworkers helped to build the middle class in Pittsburgh and beyond by organizing some of the largest employers of their time, like Bethlehem, Jones & Laughlin, National, and others. In addition, the Steelworkers have pioneered some of our country’s most innovative and important community partnerships, including Interfaith Worker Justice, the Blue-Green Alliance, and United Students Against Sweatshops.

MacKenzie Smith
Lead Organizer, UNITE HERE Local 57
UNITE HERE Local 57 represents hospitality workers across western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The local is currently supporting the fight of workers at Rivers Casino to win family-sustaining jobs for themselves and everyone in Pittsburgh.

Mark Thomas
President, Iron Workers Local 3
The statement, “We don’t go to the office, we build it” rings true with Iron Workers Local Union No. 3. For over 100 years, the men and women of Local 3 have proudly completed thousands of projects that promote the economic well-being Western Pennsylvania by supporting growth and middle class jobs.

Dr. Kenneth Thompson
A native of Pittsburgh, Dr. Ken Thompson has worked for the past 25 years as a community psychiatrist in a wide variety of settings, including primary care clinics, HIV clinics, state hospitals, several disaster response teams, homeless outreach teams and community mental health centers. He’s a tireless advocate for the rights of healthcare consumers to access and great care, and for a healthcare system that recognizes the place of family-sustaining wages in creating and maintaining health.

Sam Williamson      
Western Pennsylvania Assistant Director SEIU Local 32BJ
With more than 120,000 members, SEIU Local 32BJ is the largest union of property service workers in the United States. Local 32BJ unites janitors, maintenance workers, doormen, security officers, window cleaners, building engineers, and school and food service workers to raise standards at work and improve conditions in our communities so that one day “working poor” will be a contradiction in terms.

Ed Yankovich
International Vice President, District 2 United Mineworkers of America
In the face of an unrelentingly hostile environment for worker organizing in the United States, the United Mine Workers of America is achieving significant success in providing workers with a voice on the job and financial security at home. The union today continues the fight it began in 1890 for safe workplaces, good wages and benefits and fair representation in workplaces throughout North America.