FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, June 4
PITTSBURGH, PA (June 3, 2015) – On Wednesday, service and technical workers at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) voted with 80 percent support to join the state’s largest healthcare union, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania.
The 1,200 AGH workers — including respiratory therapists, radiology and lab technicians, nursing assistants, environmental and food service workers, secretaries, and others — are joining 1,200 registered nurses at AGH, as well as RNs and service workers at Canonsburg Hospital and Allegheny Valley Hospital who are also part of the union. Service workers voted with 83 percent support and technical workers voted with 72 percent support.
“We are thrilled to come together for our families, our patients and all of Pittsburgh,” said Donald Copper, an Advanced Life Support tech who has worked at Allegheny General for nine years. “We are at the frontlines of the biggest industry in Pittsburgh, and we are excited to work with each other and management to create a stronger, brighter future for our hospital.”
In 1999, nurses at Allegheny General Hospital joined the union. Since then, nurses have been partnering with management on innovative, forward-thinking initiatives to serve patients and improve outcomes. Most recently, nurses and management launched a comprehensive nurse-driven quality and performance improvement initiative that is actively creating and implementing programs to reduce infections, streamline processes, improve reporting accuracy and cut down on time taken away from care.
“It’s energizing to see the workers at Allegheny General Hospital take this important step forward for themselves,” said Council Member Natalia Rudiak. “By voting to form their union, AGH workers have helped our city turn a new page in the movement to ensure that our new eds and meds economy is built on good, family sustaining jobs and that all patients have access to high quality, affordable healthcare in Pittsburgh.”
The vote comes as workers at UPMC are also forming a union and calling on their employer to respect their rights and work with them to improve jobs. Last year, a federal Administrative Law Judge found that UPMC had engaged in widespread and egregious violations of workers’ rights at UPMC Presbyterian and Shadyside hospitals and ordered the employer to reinstate four workers, pay them lost wages for the period they were out of work, remove all unlawful disciplinary actions from workers’ records and inform all service workers at the hospital of the systematic and egregious violations of workers’ rights.
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the state’s largest and fastest growing union of healthcare workers, representing over 20,000 nurses, technicians, nursing assistants, and support staff in hospitals, nursing homes and public institutions across the Commonwealth. SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is committed to improving the lives of healthcare workers and ensuring quality, affordable healthcare for all Pennsylvanians.