Pennsylvania’s largest healthcare union endorses Rep. Ed Gainey for Pittsburgh Mayor, citing his commitment to strengthening unions and holding the city’s healthcare nonprofits accountable
Pittsburgh, PA — On a Zoom endorsement call, members of SEIU Healthcare PA, one of Pennsylvania’s and Pittsburgh’s largest unions, announced their endorsement of State Rep. Ed Gainey for Mayor of Pittsburgh—a huge sign of strength for Gainey campaign. Nurses, hospital workers, and not-yet-union UPMC workers explained why we need a new Mayor and why Representative Ed Gainey is the leader Pittsburgh workers need.
Said Nila Payton, Administrative Assistant at UPMC Presbyterian, “Rep. Gainey has worked every day to make sure that we have what we need to stay safe during COVID. He knows that when you lift up the people who have been excluded and ignored, you lift up everyone. I see Rep. Gainey in our communities all the time, hosting back to school events with music, food, resources for families and providing our school-aged children with backpacks and school supplies. We can build a city that works for everyone, but it takes someone willing to challenge power and do the work, not just talk the talk. Ed Gainey is that person.”
On the endorsement call, nurses and hospital workers told the story of how Mayor Peduto failed to follow through with his campaign promises to hold UPMC accountable by dropping the lawsuit against UPMC’s charity status and undermining a fight to win a community benefits agreement with UPMC Mercy. Mayor Peduto has since taken tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from UPMC executives, including millionaire CEO Jeffrey Romoff.
“I’ve been a nurse for almost 27 years. I love what I do. And when I hear Rep.Gainey talk about his commitment to supporting nurses’ unions in the struggle to build a patient-centered health care system, that to me, is music to my ears,” aid Joni Ondra, a nurse at West Penn Hospital. “I have supported Mayor Peduto in the past, but we’ve seen these large non-profit healthcare corporations gain more and more power, and we need a mayor who will do the hard work of holding them accountable. As a nurse, as a union member, and as a resident of Pittsburgh, I’m ready to help get Ed Gainey elected as our next mayor!”
In response to the endorsement, Rep. Gainey said, “I always have and I always will support the efforts of healthcare workers to form unions and negotiate fair contracts. As Mayor, one of my top priorities will be to hold large healthcare nonprofits accountable to employees, patients, and our community. It is time for UPMC and all large healthcare systems to pay workers living wages and pay their fair share. No one in this city should have to have multiple jobs to make ends meet.”