UPMC: Keeping Workers Poor by Keeping Workers Down

Every day and around the clock, thousands of UPMC workers report to their jobs at our city’s largest employer.
And every day, UPMC tries to stop them from lifting themselves out of poverty by pursuing a basic right: to join together to form a union.
Moshe Marvit, labor and employment Fellow at The Century Foundation, show us the scope, scale and meaning of UPMC’s aggression against workers in a new report
Marcus Ptomey, a long-time UPMC employee who works as a Unit Technician, is one of many workers who talked to Marvit about their daily struggles. “I work alongside nurses to help give my patients the best care they can get. But like many of my co-workers I struggle to make ends meet because the pay is so low. I was eager to join with my co-workers to form our union so that the priorities of working families are heard at our city’s largest employer, but UPMC didn’t like that.”
 In fact, UPMC fought back with a systematic campaign of harassment, intimidation, discrimination and even firing. UPMC has been supported in its efforts by the anti-union National Right to Work Foundation, whose publications the hospital has circulated in its facilities;
Marvit documents the unprecedented scope of UPMC’s anti-worker campaign, detailing over 100 alleged violations of workers’ rights in one year.
As the area’s largest employer, UPMC sets a standard for jobs and labor. Many UPMC workers are paid so little that they are forced to rely on public assistance like food stamps. When they’ve come together to have a voice on the job, UPMC has retaliated. UPMC’s anti-worker campaign hurts jobs, puts a strain on the economy and could threaten other workers’ rights in the region.
With a historic trial starting Wednesday, Marvit’s report shows us just how widespread and significant UPMC’s anti-union campaign is—and how it affects us all.


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