Judge rules UPMC engaged in unfair labor practices, reinstates 4 employees; UPMC vows appeal

A judge has ruled that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center engaged in unfair labor practices, including terminating four employees for union-related activities in violation of federal labor law.

Administrative Law Judge Mark Carissimi with the National Labor Relations Board ruled largely in favor of the Service Employees International Union, which is attempting to unionize some 3,500 non-clinical UPMC employees, on 21 issues, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (http://bit.ly/11t0ROZ ) reported.

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The judge on Friday ordered UPMC to halt certain practices, including denying non-employee organizers access to its cafeteria, conducting surveillance on employees and organizers, and barring workers from wearing union insignia in non-patient care areas.

Jim Staus, one of the reinstated employees, called the ruling "an important victory for me and for all my co-workers."

"We stood our ground and proved that UPMC has been breaking the law," Staus said in a news release distributed by the union. "Now we need UPMC to stop the legal games and make a real commitment to stop violating workers' rights and to let us form our union without illegal harassment or intimidation."

Hospital system spokesman Paul Wood said UPMC officials are disappointed by the ruling and will appeal to the full labor board.

"We believe the record fully supported our actions with regard to under-performing employees and failed SEIU organizing efforts in which our employees have shown little to no interest," he said.


Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, http://pghtrib.com