Hospital workers and caregivers across Pennsylvania have been the leading force demanding accountability from charitable healthcare institutions. In response to the announcement by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro that he is filing a lawsuit against UPMC., Matt Yarnell, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, said:
“Since its founding, SEIU Healthcare PA has insisted that compassion and cooperation are the central principles of charitable healthcare. Our members work hard every day to deliver on those principles through their devoted caregiving. And they have demanded accountability from companies that defy those principles by restricting patients’ access to their providers, denying good jobs and union rights to working people, and exploiting the taxpayers who subsidize them. Today, billion-dollar healthcare giants who abuse patients, violate workers’ rights, and exploit taxpayers are being held to account for masquerading as charities. We are very proud to see our members’ committed advocacy—our phone calls and town halls, our voices and our votes — result in this victory for everyone in our region.”
Workers have struck multiple times to protest egregious violations of workers’ rights and call attention to low wages that do not keep up with rising costs. UPMC workers have secured a (yet to be fulfilled) promise of $15 an hour from UPMC and last spring, hospital workers rallied their neighbors to testify for hours against UPMC development that was taking advantage of Pittsburgh. Ultimately, their work secured a community benefits agreement before the project was allowed to move forward. As caregivers, Pennsylvanians, and patients, hospital workers are critical stakeholders in this investigation.