Judge rules UPMC's email policy violated labor law
By Alex Nixon
Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013, 12:51 p.m.
UPMC violated federal labor law by preventing employees from using the hospital network's computer systems for union-organizing activities, a Pittsburgh administrative law judge ruled.
Judge David Goldman ordered UPMC to end a policy meant to keep workers from using email and social media websites to communicate about efforts to create a union at several of its hospitals in Oakland and Shadyside.
“Having found that respondents have engaged in certain unfair labor practices, I find that they must be ordered to cease and desist,” Goldman wrote in his decision.
The case stems from a complaint the National Labor Relations Board filed against UPMC in December, alleging the hospital giant engaged in numerous unfair labor practices. UPMC settled with the NLRB in February on most of the charges but sought to have the email and computer network policy upheld.
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, a labor union seeking to organize UPMC workers, filed the original charges that led to the NLRB's complaint. In a written statement provided by the union, UPMC workers hailed Goldman's ruling.
“The judge's decision confirms the ‘chilling effect' that we have all been experiencing,” said Leslie Poston, a unit secretary at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. “UPMC should stop trying to intimidate us and start working with its employees to improve our jobs and our hospital.”
UPMC is “reviewing the ruling,” spokeswoman Gloria Kreps said.
The SEIU filed separate charges against UPMC this month alleging the health system has not lived up to terms of its settlement with the NLRB and continues to engage in unfair labor practices.
An investigation of those charges is ongoing, said Robert Chester, the agency's regional director in Pittsburgh.
“There are a lot of allegations,” he said.
Alex Nixon is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7928 .
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Obamacare dramatically increases costs for some small businesses
- Minorities crucial to filling Marcellus shale gas drilling jobs
- Hearing scheduled on Western Pa. landowners’ rights to block drilling
- Marcellus shale driller Noble Energy Inc. sinks roots into Pittsburgh
- Job postings up in January
- Men’s Wearhouse, Jos. A. Bank agree to merger
- Dick’s Sporting Goods business brisk while American Eagle feels chill in profits
- California mulls rules for ‘driverless cars’
- Disney to lose ‘powerful’ TV exec Sweeney
- Market high on buyback fever
- Profit falls at American Eagle Outfitters on sales decline, charges