UPMC contends it is not subject to affirmative action audits
A trio of civil rights groups and a labor union on Monday filed briefs in a Washington federal appeals court, joining a government battle to regulate UPMC as a federal contractor subject to affirmative action compliance audits.
The National Women's Law Center, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the National Partnership for Women & Families joined in one brief, while SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania filed a second one. Both filings contend that UPMC's arguments aim to scuttle affirmative action protections that have governed federal contractors for decades.
UPMC provided service to federal employees at its UPMC Braddock, McKeesport and South Side hospitals between 2003 and 2006 under the UPMC Health Plan.
But the health care giant has insisted it is not a federal contractor or subcontractor and has fought government efforts to regulate it as such since 2004.
“UPMC entities that are federal contractors or subcontractors fully comply with (Office of Federal Compliance Program) requirements,” said UPMC spokeswoman Gloria Kreps.
“These filings by the SEIU and other special interest groups blatantly misrepresent the issues in the Office of Federal Compliance Programs matter as well as UPMC's position in that litigation,” Kreps said.
The distinction is the focus of a long-running legal battle in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, where UPMC is appealing a federal ruling from March that found that it was subject to the regulations and compliance audits.
“Also at issue is whether certain Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program regulations would impermissibly require UPMC to make employment decisions based on race or gender. UPMC has asserted that they would; OFCCP has argued that they would not,” Kreps said.
Kreps said UPMC “complies with and embraces all local, state and federal anti-discrimination requirements.”
UPMC and its supporters—including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Pennsylvania Hospital and Health System Association and several other groups that filed briefs in court — claim that allowing the government to audit UPMC as a federal subcontractor would establish a vast expansion of the federal government regulation and could increase health care costs at facilities across the nation.
Paula Bussard, senior vice president for policy and regulatory services for the Pennsylvania Hospital and Health System Association said hospitals already must adhere to state and federal civil rights act regulations.
Lawyers for the U.S. Department of Labor said UPMC received more than $3.5 million for services to federal employees between 2003 and 2006, and that UPMC “cannot reap the benefits of government contracting” while ignoring the conditions placed on the contracts.
Were the government to prevail in the UPMC case, it could add to the burden for hospitals and “doesn't really improve health care,” she said.
Fatima Goss Graves, a lawyer for the National Women's Law Center said the organization joined the legal battle after UPMC argued in its appeal that the 50-year-old Executive Order that established affirmative action regulations for federal contractors is not valid.
“They have made pretty sweeping challenges against decades of the law,” she said.
Neal Bison, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, echoed her concerns.
“What UPMC is attempting to do is undo this, not just for themselves but for all federal contractors. It is really bullying behavior that would set back protections for women and people of color for decades,” Bisno said.
Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or email@example.com.
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.
- Founder of Z&M Cycle Sales in Hempfield killed in Florida motorcycle crash
- Starkey: Tomlin lived in his fears
- Slain St. Clair officer walked into ‘worst nightmare’ for police
- Increasing player salaries pinch financial flexibility of Pirates
- Penguins’ reshuffled top line of Crosby, Dupuis, Kunitz looks familiar
- W.V. entrepreneurs offer hope as coal fades as economic engine
- 2,200 union employees of ATI lose coverage
- Steelers receiver Wheaton takes advantage of opportunity in breakout game
- 7 percent in Allegheny County allowed to carry concealed gun
- Film session: Long shots dotted Steelers’ passing game
- U.S. Marine found guilty of killing transgender Filipino