SEIU protesters heed mayor’s call to leave UPMC

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PITTSBURGH (AP) – Hundreds of protesters organized by the Service Employees International Union have left the area outside the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s offices downtown, after Mayor Bill Peduto issued a statement asking them to “disband” and “return home.”

Peduto’s statement indicates he’s cutting short a Washington, D.C. trip to return to Pittsburgh Tuesday and hopes to “resolve these conflicts.”

A group of 300 protesters grew to more than 1,000 on Monday, blocking traffic on a main downtown street at various times. The protesters returned Tuesday morning, but police were hoping to avoid the traffic jams the protest caused Monday.

SEIU HealthCare Pennsylvania has been trying to organize blue-collar UPMC workers, and wants hourly wages increased to at least $15. UPMC says it already pays its service workers at above-market rates, plus benefits.

UPMC

Protesters gather for a rally at the Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh, March 3. (Courier Photo/J.L. Martello)

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