SEIU files antitrust complaint against UPMC for harming workers

a Allegations of Federal Antitrust Violation Almost every category of workers in Pennsylvania’s largest health care system is subject to unfair labor practices, according to filings filed with the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday.

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the state’s largest union of health care workers, and the Center for Strategic Organizations are asking federal prosecutors to investigate UPMC for possible antitrust violations. The SOC describes itself as a democratic coalition of her three unions: the SEIU, the Communications Workers of America, and the National Farm Workers Union.

In its complaint, the group said UPMC’s anti-competitive practices stifled wages and prevented employees from claiming better working conditions, while people feared being placed on the “no re-employment list” allegations. are discouraging people from seeking employment options.

According to the SEIU and SOC, hospital workers in UPMC, from doctors and nurses to housekeeping and food service staff, earn an average of 2% less than those in other health systems.

The hardest hit are Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), who earn about $1.31 less an hour than nurses in other health systems. Diet workers who work on a contract basis lose about $6.00 an hour.

Shown only in town

“Sometimes people ask me, ‘If you don’t like your current job, why don’t you get another one?’ Now you have to understand how big UPMC is.,” Nira Peyton, Pathology Administrative Assistant at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, said at the SEIU press conference announcing the application.

UPMC is a healthcare giant with approximately 40 hospitals and approximately 800 outpatient facilities. The complaint cites data showing UPMC’s market dominance in several parts of the state, including 55% of Allegheny County. Many of its commercial advantages have been achieved through the acquisition of other hospitals and smaller healthcare systems. Counting employees in UPMC’s health insurance and venture capital divisions, the conglomerate is the largest non-governmental employer in all of Pennsylvania, with her 92,000 employees.

Payton has worked at UPMC for 17 years, but Pittsburgh’s lack of job opportunities outside of UPMC limits her earning potential, she said. Her hourly wage is $20, so Peyton said she needs a higher income to support her family. (Many of UPMC’s lowest paid employees also medicine Ms Peyton looked for other jobs, but the scope of the organization limited her options, she said.

Even if Ms. Peyton finds a job outside of UPMC, even if someone leaves the company, Ms. Peyton, because it’s widely believed the health care system has a secret “no rehire” rule for former employees. may not be wise to take the position, SEIU argues. Clause. Unions argue that this discourages people from seeking other opportunities, resulting in stagnating wages and hindering career progression.

UPMC’s chief communications officer, Paul Wood, said there is no policy prohibiting a person who has retired from one UPMC facility from being employed at another UPMC facility.

Doctors claim they are injured Also by UPMC’s anti-competitive practices. The application cites the experience of a gynecologist who was one of only three providers on a 24/7 on-call rotation. She was on duty every third night and every third weekend.

Doctors said the schedule was painful, but UPMC gave her no more money or time off. For years she had hoped to find a new job with a less demanding schedule, but a non-competition agreement barred her from working as a doctor in Allegheny County for one year after leaving UPMC. I was.

When the gynecologist finally quit, AHN ended up taking a job at Allegheny Health Network despite having multiple facilities in Pittsburgh, requiring a commute of up to three hours a day. she said. Doctors weren’t allowed to tell patients they were leaving UPMC, she said.

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While the SEIU’s DOJ request for an investigation is somewhat unusual, the SEIU is hopeful because Jonathan Cantor, Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s antitrust division, said: achievement Labor Law Enforcement and Anti-Competition Issues.

“We expect them to take this matter very seriously and to launch a vigorous investigation as soon as possible,” said Marca Peterson, general counsel for SEIU.

In an emailed statement, Wood said UPMC was the first health care system in Pennsylvania to offer paid parental leave and one of the first to provide emergency day care for its employees. . He also said that in 2025, it will move to a non-union starting salary of $18, making it the highest of any healthcare provider in the state.

UPMC’s full answer can be found here.

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