UPMC workers file ‘groundbreaking’ complaint alleging unfair labor practices

Unions representing service employees and healthcare workers are filing a 55-page anti-trust complaint against a well-known health care provider and insurer.

The president of Service Employees International Unions (SEIU) claims that UPMC is being unlawful, and this is the reason the union has decided to file what he calls a “groundbreaking” complaint.

The unions, along with the strategic organizing center, are filing a complaint against UPMC.

“Our complaint asserts that UPMC acquired dominate market power in hospital markets and labor markets across Pennsylvania and unfairly used that power in ways that are harmful to patients and workers,” said Matt Yarnell, president of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania.

The president of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania said traditionally workers have two options concerning employment — they can leave their current job, or they can stay in their current job and try to obtain better working conditions.

“UPMC is cutting off both these avenues of competition by preventing workers from leaving UPMC using doctor noncompete clauses and unofficial do not rehire practices and preventing workers to stay from attaining better working conditions by suppressing labor rights in attempting form a union,” Yarnell said.

One registered nurse that has worked her entire career with UPMC for over 8 years said that they are in a staffing crisis. She compares it to a pre-existing condition and says that UPMC refuses to cover it.

“While we work long hours providing care despite these challenges and often just trying to keep our patients alive, UPMC has discovered that they can maximize profits by keeping us understaffed and underpaid,” said Jodi Faltin, RN at UPMC Shadyside.

Paul Wood, the chief communication officer of UPMC, released a statement to us, saying in part:

“There are no other employers of size and scope in the regions UPMC serves that provide good paying jobs at every level and an average wage of this magnitude.”

Moving forward, the union is now requesting an investigation from the US Department of Justice.

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