In a standing room only crowd, member organizations of Pittsburgh United welcomed new Mayor Bill Peduto and a new day for our city, where grassroots and elected leaders alike are united to create and sustain good jobs, a clean environment, and fairness for all. At the top of the list for many speakers: the rights of workers at UPMC.
According to Barney Oursler, Pittsburgh United’s Executive Director, “The fight to organize at UPMC will be the one to determine if we rebuild the middle class in Pittsburgh.” Sam Williamson, Western PA Area Leader for SEIU32BJ, agreed, and stressed the role of workers’ organization in making good jobs a reality: “Without the right to form a union at UPMC, we will not be able to turn poverty jobs into good family sustaining jobs.”
Christoria Hughes, who prepares food at UPMC Presby, has trouble supporting her family on UPMC’s wages. “Pittsburgh is supposed to be one of the most liveable cities in the country. A place where if you work hard, you can get ahead. Where you can have a job that will allow you to support your family,” she said. “But for many of us who work for Pittsburgh’s largest employer, no matter how hard we work, or how much overtime we put in, we just can’t keep up.”
“I try to work as much over time as possible,” she went on to say. “Many of my coworkers work close to 70 hours a week but still rely on federal housing assistance just to keep a roof over their heads. “
In addition to electing a new mayor, the people of Pittsburgh elected a progressive City Council and are thrilled by the re-election of Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, who gave voice to what many were thinking: “Pittsburgh should be known not only as the city that created the middle class but also the city that saved it.”
It’s time to Make It Our UPMC
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Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto offering support to union, nonprofit groups