Score PIIN 1, UPMC 0

Posted by: Amelia on 11/25/2014

Tom Hoffman and PIIN leaders Rev. Ron Wanless and Tassi Bisers spoke at a rally this week before a hearing on charges stemming from July arrests 

Three months after an action at which Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network organizer Sue Thorn and three other leaders were arrested, the National Labor Relations Board weighed in on the side of workers seeking a living wage.

“This is a major victory and step in our journey towards holding UPMC accountable,” PIIN said in a statement. “We know that the fight isn’t over. And together we will continue fighting until UPMC does right by our city.”

The National Labor Relations Board issued a court order last week to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center or UPMC –Pittsburgh’s largest employer -- to reinstate four workers whom the company had fired after they advocated for a union inside the medical center.

One of the fired workers, Jim Staus, was receiving $11.81 per hour, just a bit over minimum wage, despite having worked for the company for 7 years. Working for below a living wage forced his family to rely on food stamps and second-hand stores for food and clothing.

“If your neighbor isn’t making a living wage, then that impacts everybody,” Thorn said. She said PIIN continues to support UPMC workers in their campaign.

One worker, Ron Oaks, was fired twice and rehired the first time after a settlement agreement between UPMC and the Service Employees International Union. He will be rehired for a second time and receive back pay in accordance with the court order from the NLRB. The three other fired employees will also be rehired and receive back pay.

The UPMC says it plans to appeal to the full Labor Board. They say they will also be exploring additional legal options. 

Yesterday's hearings resulted in 20 hours of community service for those arrested. The charges were dropped.

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