UPMC workers set to strike in Pittsburgh

Workers from UPMC facilities in Pittsburgh will strike Oct. 4 in their push for unionization.

Based on sign-ups Oct. 3, about 100 UPMC workers were planning to participate, along with community supporters and other allies, according to Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania.

On the morning of Oct. 4, UPMC said 45 of its more than 40,000 employees who work in Pittsburgh are participating in the strike, expected to last all day, with the main rally at 4 p.m.

The union said workers are striking because they want UPMC to stop what they see as a history of "egregious' violations of workers' rights" and take corrective actions.

Numerous National Labor Relations Board rulings prompted the strike, including a ruling Aug. 6 that UPMC unlawfully prohibited off-duty workers from unionization efforts. In late August, the NLRB also found that UPMC violated the law regarding the formation and operation of an employee council at UPMC's Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh.

UPMC did not comment on the Aug. 6 ruling. UPMC spokesperson Paul Wood previously told Becker's the other NLRB decision "deals with disputes from five to six years ago and relates in large part to policies and practices that UPMC has long since changed." 

While NLRB rulings prompted the strike, union workers said they also hope to gain support for their desire to unionize. Arlynna Evans, a housekeeper at Pittsburgh-based UPMC Mercy told the Pittsburgh City Paper she believes UPMC could increase workers' pay given its plans to invest $2 billion to build three digitally centered specialty hospitals.

A UPMC spokesperson said: "In spite of an unsuccessful seven-year organizing campaign by the SEIU, our employees have not felt that SEIU representation is necessary and have instead filed petitions to decertify the union at three UPMC facilities. As in years past, we are fully prepared to take excellent, seamless care of our patients."


More articles on human capital and risk: 

Nurses, Michigan Medicine reach tentative labor deal
UVM Medical Center nurses ratify labor deal
Johns Hopkins graduate students announce plans to unionize

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