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Friday, January 31, 2014

Food bank for UPMC workers slated for Monday

Posted By on Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 4:54 PM

Congressman Mike Doyle and local labor leaders will sponsor a food bank Monday afternoon for UPMC employees “who are otherwise unable to afford groceries,” according to a press release.

“In the wake of President Obama’s call on business leaders to raise wages and improve living standards for all American workers, Rep. Mike Doyle and community and labor leaders will be standing up with UPMC workers on Monday to call on the healthcare giant to raise wages and help grow the middle class,” the release reads.

The event -- set for moon Monday outside the Federal building, 1000 Liberty Avenue -- touches on a bone of contention involving UPMC and its workers. In December 2012, City Paper reported on food pantries started at UPMC facilities "to pick up items [workers] and their families can use to make their holidays brighter." Earlier that month, employees testified at a public hearing before Allegheny County Council that they had to rely on food banks to make ends meet. UPMC maintained that the effort had nothing to do with wages, saying the food bank was initiated by employees to benefit co-workers.

Service employees have been trying to unionize at UPMC since 2012. According to the press release, which is available after the jump, the workers which include patient aides, custodians, transporters and food technicians earn "an estimated median wage of $12.18 an hour."

UPMC has been a target of several complaints of alleged union-busting behavior in the last two years and has faced two complaints from the National Labor Relations Board. The most recent charges, filed in October by the NLRB, will be the subject of a hearing slated for Feb. 10. The charges were originally set for a hearing Monday; however, an NLRB official told CP the hearing was postponed one week to deal with "administrative matters."

As the Country Focuses on Addressing Income Inequality,
REP. MIKE DOYLE, COMMUNITY, WORKERS CALL ON UPMC TO RAISE WAGES, GROW THE MIDDLE CLASS


Community to Hold a Food Bank for UPMC Employees in Need

PITTSBURGH — In the wake of President Obama’s call on business leaders to raise wages and improve living standards for all American workers, Rep. Mike Doyle and community and labor leaders will be standing up with UPMC workers on Monday to call on the healthcare giant to raise wages and help grow the middle class. Outside the federal building, the group will hold a food bank for UPMC workers who are otherwise unable to afford groceries.

Even with $1.3 billion in profits in the last three years, $4 billion in reserves and 22 top executives paid $47.5 million a year, UPMC pays many of its employees so little that they face constant financial insecurity. Even working full-time, many are forced to rely on taxpayer programs—like food stamps, housing subsidies and even Medicaid—just to get by.

UPMC pays its service workers - patient aides, food technicians, custodians, and transporters - an estimated median wage of $12.18 an hour, well below what experts calculate is needed to make ends meet in Pittsburgh. As a result, workers like CJ Patterson had to rely on a food bank to provide Thanksgiving dinner for his family. Patterson is a lab technician who has worked at UPMC for more than 15 years.

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