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Union accuses UPMC of unfair practices

| Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 1:48 p.m.

A labor union has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging UPMC is engaging in unfair labor practices.

The union, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, submitted the charges Wednesday to the NLRB's office in Pittsburgh.

UPMC in February agreed to a settlement with the NLRB after the agency issued a complaint against the hospital system, which is the largest in Western Pennsylvania.

In the latest allegations, the union said “UPMC has harassed, disciplined, and suspended workers, as well as called the police on workers who were discussing their union during their lunch break,” according to an SEIU statement.

UPMC spokeswoman Gloria Kreps said the health system is complying with its settlement, and “will vigorously contest the new allegations filed with the NLRB.”

Robert Chester, regional director for the NLRB in Pittsburgh, confirmed the charges were filed and said the agency would begin an investigation.

The SEIU also said that UPMC recently fired a worker who UPMC was required to reinstate as part of its settlement with NLRB.

Kreps said the worker, patient transporter Ron Oakes, was “terminated after multiple incidents in which he was absent from the job during work hours and could not be reached.”

SEIU organizers have been trying to form a union at several UPMC hospitals in Oakland and Shadyside since last year.

Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or anixon@tribweb.com.

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