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After months of criticism from local politicians and and activist groups, that included Pittsburgh Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess calling UPMC’s pay scale “a national disgrace,” the healthcare giant has announced it will raise its base pay for workers to $15 per hour.

In a statement released March 29, UPMC said the change comes as a result of ongoing market analysis of total compensation packages offered across the industry.

“We are very proud of our wages, generous benefits and other rewards and of the tens of thousands of jobs at UPMC that have meaning and purpose, and that fulfill an incredibly important mission for the region and the communities that we serve,” said John Galley, senior vice president and chief human resources officer. “We review the market each year to ensure that our salary ranges are competitive and we are committed to rewarding our strong-performing employees with merit increases on an annual basis.”

The increases will be fully implemented by January 2021, with entry-level positions at most Pittsburgh facilities, including UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside hospital, UPMC Mercy, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and many other facilities and sites.

Additionally, increases for service workers will be instituted even sooner with most positions exceeding $15 per hour by January 2019. The changes begin in January 2017.

The release added that those making $15/hour and taking full advantage of UPMC’s benefits package will earn the equivalent of $24.25/hour.

Mayor Bill Peduto called the pay increase “a big step forward.”

“I commend UPMC for taking this step on behalf of low-income employees, many of whom are Pittsburgh residents, and for showing how good wages mean good business for employers,” he said.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald also hailed the move and thanked Peduto for making it a priority.

“This is an exciting announcement for our region and I commend UPMC for making a decision to improve the wages for so many in our community,” he said.

“I also applaud Mayor Peduto for taking the lead on this important cause and ensuring that we continue to narrow the wage gap in our community. The county had also made that commitment to ensure that our full-time county employees receive the wages that they deserve for the betterment of their families.”

Leslie Poston, who has battled for better wages—she currently makes $13 an hour—and union representation at UPMC for years, enjoyed the victory.

“UPMC executives said they would never pay workers $15 an hour, but hospital workers came together to stand up for our rights and for better pay, and we won the raises our families and communities need and deserve,” she said

“Our union has lifted up worker voices, built support throughout the community and together, we have made UPMC change. We will continue standing together until UPMC ends its anti-union campaign, provides affordable access to care to all patients and treats all Pittsburgh residents with the respect we deserve.”

 

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