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Pittsburgh council wants UPMC to accept extra Labor Department regulation

| Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, 11:18 a.m.

Pittsburgh City Council joined several labor and civil rights groups on Wednesday in demanding that UPMC drop a 9-year legal challenge to the Labor Department's attempt to treat three of its facilities as federal subcontractors.

The stakes for the hospital system are an extra set of affirmative action requirements not imposed on most businesses.

Councilman Daniel Lavelle said that if UPMC wins its challenge, no federal contractor would have to comply with those regulations. Council President Bruce Kraus said the council has a tradition of supporting workers' rights and, regardless of an employer's size, if it endangers those rights, “We're going to stand up and call them out.”

UPMC is Pennsylvania's largest private employer, with 62,000 employees.

UPMC spokeswoman Gloria Kreps said the council and other groups continue to mischaracterize the dispute between UPMC and the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

The office in 2004 sought to classify UPMC's Braddock, McKeesport and South Side hospitals as “subcontractors” on a federal contract awarded to the UPMC Health Plan, despite regulations that specify they're not subcontractors, she said. UPMC operations that have federal contracts comply with the law, she said.

The McKeesport hospital is the only one still open.

Brian Bowling is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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